Pistachio exports will hit a new record during the current crop year, brining in significant forex revenues, said head of Agricultural Commission of Iran Chamber of Commerce Industries and Mines (ICCIM).
Mohammad-Hossein Karimipour told Iran Daily that the forex revenues stood at $1.2 billion last year which was a record.
If per capita pistachio production stands at 300,000 tons this year, the country will earn forex revenues worth $1.5 billion, he said.
The official explained that Iran and US are top pistachio producers worldwide, followed by Turkey, Syria, Italy and Greece.
Iran is considered as the leading pistachio producer across the world, he said, predicting US pistachio output at 165,000 tons this year, while Iran will produce 180,000 tons.
Since this year pistachio production and the carryover from last year are determining factors in pistachio price, he said nothing has left from last year. This will lead to a rise in pistachio prices in the markets, he added.
Iranian and American pistachios were traded at highest the price last March, he pointed out. Each ton of US pistachio was sold $10,500 and Iranian pistachio was traded at $8,500 in European markets, he added.
But he noted that given the recent global credit crisis, pistachio is priced $200-300 less than the March record.
Karimipour named China, Russia and India as the leading consumer markets of pistachio.
The Chinese are the top pistachio consumers worldwide with annual consumption of 80,000 tons, while Americans consume 45,000 tons. Also, Russians (with consumption of 15,000 tons) and Indians (with consumption of 10,000 tons) are in the third and forth places.
He said the funds earned from pistachio exports differ from those earned from selling oil and petrochemical products. Petrodollars will go to the state treasury, while pistachio revenues will go to producers, he added.
The official continued that close to 200,000 individuals are directly involved in pistachio sector and one million people earn money from this industry.
Pistachio is the main source of income for some regions such as Kerman and Yazd in which crops are rarely cultivated due to saline water and the desert situation, he said. Pistachio trees are resistant to difficult climatic conditions, he added.
The area under pistachio cultivation has increased to 450,000 hectares recently from 50,000 in 1979, he said.
Iran boasts the highest number of pistachio orchards worldwide.
Pistachio Research Institute said some 45 percent of pistachio production costs go for fertilizers. Pistachio orchards also suffer from water shortage. Farmers need to be made familiar with modern irrigation methods.
Modern machinery, timely financial facilities, greater investment in processing sector and observation of international health standards will help improve the industry significantly.
It said marketing cooperative companies need to be established in a bid to regulate prices of the tasty nuts.
Researchers at Tarbiat Modarres University found pistachio green hull extract has antioxidant, antimicrobial and antimutagenicity properties. Ahmad Rajaei, the lead researcher of the project, said these properties of pistachio green hull extracts (crude and purified extracts) were studied, ScienceDirect wrote.
Rajaei said the results obtained indicate that pistachio green hull may become important as a cheap and noticeable source of compounds with potential health properties.
At the end of the 20th century, agricultural activities accounted for about one-fifth of Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employed a comparable proportion of the workforce.
Pistachio is a small tree native to some regions of Syria, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, that produces an important culinary nut.
The trees are planted in orchards, and take approximately seven to ten years to reach significant production. Production is alternate bearing or biennial bearing, meaning the harvest is heavier in alternate years. Peak production is reached at approximately 20 years. Trees are usually pruned to size to make the harvest easier.
Iran Plans Georgian Hydro Plant
Iran plans to construct a hydropower plant in Georgia and intends to import electricity from the former Soviet republic, the Iranian ambassador said.
“We’re getting a good response from the Georgian government on improving ties in our region, and we’re ready to do so,” Majid Samazadeh-Saber said at a forum hosted by the embassy in the capital Tbilisi, Fars News Agency reported.
“We want to import electricity from Georgia and use the country for power transit” in addition to the planned hydro plant, he said, adding that Iran is also “interested in wind energy” investments in Georgia.
Samadzadeh-Saber also said Iran and Georgia have planned to lift visa requirements.
The ambassador said the corresponding bodies of the two countries have agreed over the issue and a document on lifting the visa regime is due to be signed during Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s upcoming visit to Georgia.
According to Iran’s ambassador, Iran and Georgia are holding talks on opening a consulate of Iran in Batumi.
Saakashvili said the opening of the consulate in Batumi will make a new page in Georgia-Iran relations.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili invited his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to visit Georgia during his meeting with Iran’s ambassador in Tbilisi.
Samadzadeh also said Georgian prime minister and agriculture minister are planning a visit to Iran.
IOEC Gets Indian Oil Project
General oil and gas contractor Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) has won the tender for a major Indian off-shore oil project.
Ali Taheri, managing director of the company, said the consortium of the Indian Essar Offshore Subsea Limited and the IOEC offered a quota of $235 million and managed to get the lowest tender for India’s D-1 field development project, Presstv wrote.
The D-1 field is located about 200 kilometers west of the Indian city of Mumbai in the deep continental shelf at a depth of 85 to 90 meters.
The project, which is scheduled to last for 12 months, includes the installation of three smart well platforms along with three rigid and a flexible pipelines as well as sub-sea cables.
Established in 1993, the IOEC is Iran’s first offshore general contractor. It designs, supplies, constructs, and installs sub-sea pipelines along with fixed process platforms.
IOEC has successfully expanded its offshore services providing projects with full marine fleet supports for pipe-laying, installation, hook-up and commissioning.
The company is planning to extend its oil, gas and petrochemical activities to onshore and offshore, upstream as well as downstream activities and operations.
SP Gas Output to Rise
By renovating platforms at the South Pars gas field’s Phase 1, the total output of the field will rise by one billion cubic feet per day, the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company stated.
Ali Vakili told Mehr News Agency that the renovation project will be implemented by mid-September.
The South Pars Phase 1 is projected to produce 25 million cubic meters of natural gas per day, 40,000 barrels of gas condensates for export and 200 tons of sulfur.
South Pars field is a gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf. It is the world’s largest gas field, shared between Iran and Qatar. According to International Energy Agency, the field holds an estimated 50.97 trillion cubic meters (1,800 trillion cubic feet) of in-situ gas and some 50 billion barrels of condensates.
Khorramshahr Power Plant
The first phase of Khorramshahr combined-cycle power plant will come on stream in the southwestern city on Monday, Mehr News Agency reported.