While Iran is the world’s third largest apple producer, it is the eighth largest exporter of apples. Based on data from the Office of Agricultural Exports at the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, in the first six months of this year, the value of apple exports has decreased by 80%.
Mahmoud Bazari, Director General of the Office of Agricultural Exports said: “The lack of care and necessary infrastructure in apple production has prevented us from having adequate exportation in terms of price and quality.”
This year, production of 3.7 million tons of apples was forecasted. Based on numbers from the customs office, in the first half of this year 40.000 tons of apples valued at 12 million dollars were exported. One of the main problems preventing the exportation of agricultural goods from Iran is the lack of adequate packaging. As a result, in spite of the high quality of Iranian fruit, exporting them is very difficult. In some cases, such as dates, the produce is bought in bulk by a third country, packaged and then exported to other countries.
Mr. Bazari confirmed this problem: “Due to the problems with the export of fruit and vegetables we have set packaging guidelines and produce is to be carried with refrigerated containers. These regulations have been sent to customs offices across the country and have been in effect since November.”
Last year, Iran produced 3.4 million tons of apples. Export was improved by passing a goods for goods trade policy based on which 1.5 kilograms of apples were exported in place of each kilogram of bananas which were imported.