The pistachio tree is a small plant that grows mostly in the Middle East and Central Asia. The growth of this tree has been reported in countries such as Iran, Syria, Turkmenistan and western Afghanistan.
Pistachio is a Persian word that entered European languages through Latin. In 2014, Iran became the largest exporter of this product in the world by exporting more than 191,000 tons of pistachios. The United States of America was also recognized as the second exporter of pistachios in the world in 2014 by exporting about 138,000 tons of pistachios.
Turkey was the third exporter of pistachios in the world. In 2014, Turkey was able to export about 3 thousand tons of pistachios and ranked third in the world in terms of pistachio exports. Iran’s pistachio export in 2009 was equivalent to 150 thousand tons. One of Iran’s advantages in pistachio export is its geographical location. With the easy possibility of transportation, Iran can easily take over the market from countries like China. Although Iranian and American pistachios are of the same breed, Iranian pistachios have a better taste. Something that many major European distributors also confirm. (Seeds and seedlings of the first pistachios planted in America were of Iranian pistachios, whose taste has changed due to changes in soil and climate).
For example, Turkish pistachios are of a different breed. In order to get to know more about Iranian pistachios and how to export them, let us first examine the features of this product. Pistacia vera is found in dense forests in the northeast of Iran. Propagation of Iranian pistachio is done by planting seeds and creating seedlings. Pistachio is a plant that has been cultivated in Iran for a long time. In the past, Iranian pistachios were peeled and dried in the traditional way, but now it is completely mechanized in workshops and factories.
The amount of pistachio production in Iran is about 575 thousand tons annually, and only 10% of this product is consumed domestically and the other 90% is exported. The annual consumption of pistachios for each Iranian family is about 2 kg. The production and export of Iranian pistachios generates an annual income of about 1.4 to 1.7 billion dollars for Iran. Rafsanjan city, Zarand city, Sirjan city, Bardeskan, Khalilabad, Damghan, Buin Zahra, Abarkoh are the main centers of pistachio production in Iran, and 80% of pistachios produced in Iran are obtained from these areas. Hazelnut pistachio is the most famous type of pistachio in Iran and Kole ghoochipistachio is the largest type.
In general, pistachio types are divided into two groups, round and long, which are known as Kole Ghoochi, Hazelnut, and Akbari. But traditionally, about 90 types of pistachios are known in Iran; some of them are widely and commercially cultivated and some are scattered and limited. The most important commercial varieties of Iranian pistachios are:
- Kole ghoochi pistachio: This pistachio is in the category of the largest pistachio in Iran and is mostly famous for its appearance. Its main expansion areas are Kerman province and it is scattered in other provinces of the country.
- Ouhadi pistachio: It is one of the most widespread and famous kinds of Iranian pistachios with the shape of hazelnut, also called hazelnut pistachio. About 60-70% of the pistachio farms in Rafsanjan are occupied by this figure. This variety has hazelnut-shaped and spherical fruits. The largest volume of pistachio exports in the country belongs to this variety.
- Ahmad Aghaei Pistachio: It is the largest Iranian pistachio. And currently, this figure is one of the most important commercial figures of the country, which is expanding significantly despite its not so long history. Its fruit is almond-shaped, but its appearance is similar to the Kole ghoochi variety.
- Khanjari Pistachio: Damghan’s dagger pistachio, as its name suggests, is like a dagger with an elongated arc on one side. This pistachio is similar in appearance to Ahmad Aghaei pistachio because Ahmad Aghaei pistachio is also elongated, which may confuse you a little.
- Akbari pistachio: Akbari pistachio is one of the commercial varieties of Iranian pistachio, which has a higher economic value compared to other varieties. The mentioned variety has an almond-shaped, elongated and large fruit.
Although the United States is the largest producer of pistachios in 2022, Iran has become one of the main countries for buying pistachios in the world due to its variety of pistachio production and high quality.