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Iran adds ag products to export promotion policy

The Ministry of Agriculture has listed eight agro products under its export promotion policy and is currently in the process of forming a unified production and supply chains for each.

From among the eight products, the apple chain formation is in its final stage.

The other products are pistachio, dates, raisins, citrus fruit, kiwi, saffron, and greenhouse products, Abbas Pakpour, deputy head of Export Promotion Office with the Ministry of Agriculture, told Financial Tribune.

“Based on figures released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Iran is the ninth biggest producer of apples worldwide. In exports, the country ranks ninth in terms of weight and 14th in value. As such, we account for 1.87% and 4.05% of the global production and exports respectively,” he said.

Iran follows China, the US, Poland, India, Turkey, Italy, Chile and Russia in apple production in a descending order.

Considerable Production
The Agriculture Ministry has put last year’s (March 2016-17) apple production on over 217,300 hectares of orchards at more than 3.43 million tons, registering a 1.5% decrease compared with the previous year.

The three main provinces producing apples in Iran are East and West Azerbaijan and Tehran.

In the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept.22) close to 41,700 tons of the fruit worth more than $12.6 million were exported, registering a 75% and 78% fall in weight and value respectively year-on-year. The reason for this decline is said to be the fact that almost all the stored apples were exported last year and there was not much left in warehouses across the country.

The UAE, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, China, Qatar, Russia, the US, South Korea, Switzerland and France were the main export destinations for Iranian apples.

Chains to the Rescue
The unified chains, he said, help us produce as per the plans and give us standards to follow.

“This will help us find sustainable foreign markets that will help balance prices in the domestic market where more often than not, farmers incur losses since surplus production makes them sell their products at much lower prices compared with the production costs,” he said.

“Another very important matter we pursue in forming production and supply chains is brand creation. All the people engaged in apple production will be working as one large-scale unit by selling their products under one brand. This will help solve many of our export problems.”

The official explained that under a brand, producers will have to abide by standards and qualities, and issues such as sorting, packaging and proper transportation will be taken care of.

One of the main hassles in export destinations is what Pakpour refers to as “negative competition” of Iranian merchants, that is Iranian businesses compete with one another rather than those of other countries.

The establishment of an organised chain, he added, will help merge small-scale businesses into large export units, which demand specific requirements.


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