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Apple for banana trade leaves Iran with $71.3 mln in surplus: IRICA

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran says it had $71.3 million in surplus from its apple for banana trade program last calendar year.

Iran’s customs office IRICA says the country had a surplus of 71.3 million from a trade program last calendar year that conditioned banana imports on exports of apple.

An IRICA spokesman said on Wednesday that apple exports from Iran in the year to March 20, 2021 had reached over $326.6 million in value terms for nearly 885,000 metric tons of shipments sent from the country.

Rouhollah Latifi said that Iran had imported over 375,000 tons of banana worth $255.3 million over the same period.

Facing an oversupply of apple last calendar year, Iran’s ministry of agriculture proposed a system under which banana importers had to sell three kilograms of grade 1 or grade 2 apples to foreign customers in return for permission to import one kilogram of banana into the country.  

The program helped Iran export more than a fifth of its apple harvest last calendar year.

Latifi said Iranian apple had found its way to markets in 27 countries over the past calendar year with Iraq, Russia and Afghanistan being the main exports destinations with a collective purchase of $251 million.

He said Turkey had been the main supplier of banana to Iran with nearly $130 million worth of import shipments registered at IRICA in the year to March. Iran took delivery of banana cargoes from India, at $54.3 million, and six other countries over the same period, said the official.

The apple for banana trade program has not been implemented since March, allowing a surge in banana shipments arriving in Iran.

Latifi said IRICA had registered over 136,000 tons of banana imports into Iran for a value of nearly $93 million in the quarter to late June against some $62.5 million worth of apple exports for 207,000 tons of shipments sent to other countries over the same period.

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