date fruit in Iran
Statistics of production and consumption of dates in Iran:
It is very common for an agricultural product to be grown and harvested in an area and to an acceptable degree in terms of quality but unknown to the natives of that area or for any reason not to use that product for consumption.
At first glance, this may seem very simple and trivial, but when a product that is not in demand inside the country but is important for global markets and eventually becomes a commercial product, statistics come into play.
The hard part is that the crop has both a domestic and a foreign consumer, in which case accurate statistics can avoid serious problems.
Now we want to take a look at the statistics of dates and see what these numbers are for this important fruit in Iran.
Cultivation, production and yield of dates in Iran:
Dates, among the horticultural products, have a share of 10% of the total area of orchards in the country, after pistachios and grapes in the third category and with 5.6% of the total orchard production after grapes, apples and oranges in the fourth category of production.
At present, dates are cultivated in 14 provinces of Iran and about 400 different cultivars are known for having different genetic and morphological traits due to their seed origin.
The cultivation range of this crop in the west of Iran starts from Qasr Shirin and Somar in Kermanshah province and Mehran and Dehloran in Ilam province, Shushtar, Ahvaz, Shadegan, Khorramshahr, Abadan and Behbahan in Khuzestan province, then in the coastal areas of the Persian Gulf such as Bushehr, Shabankareh and Borazjan continued towards Kazerun, Lengeh, Lar, Lamerd, Jahrom and Darab, and after that in Hajiabad Hormozgan and Minab area to Jiroft, Bam, Narmashir and Shahdad in Kerman province and after Baluchistan, ie Iranshahr, Saravan and Bampour regions finally end in the east of the country in its northernmost cultivation area, Tabas in Khorasan province.
Date consumption in Iran:
Dates have high sugar content and nutritional value, so they not only are consumed fresh, but also consume by the people living in deprived area used fortuitous events. A portion of the date products is used in food industry, some others are exported and another ones are used as waste for animal feed.
In general, the uses of different date cultivars are determined according to their quality. Some cultivars are suitable for export due to their quality and their texture (dry and semi-dry).
Some have different soft textures so they are used in the conversion industry for producing date syrup, liquid sugar, alcohol, vinegar, date flour and date paste. Also, cultivars that have large kernels, large caps, thick skin and are less meaty, are introduced as 3rd and 4th grade dates (waste) and used for making animal feed.
The per capita consumption of dates in Iran between 1391-1380 shows that the consumption in these years has varied between 10 to 11 kg per person, which is the sum of production and import of the product after deducting exports and waste and dividing the resulting figure to the population of the year shows us the number.
Due to the distribution of date production in Iran, people in some areas consume much more and in some areas, much less per capita. Date-rich provinces are considered as the most consumed areas of dates.
Big cities such as Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad and Tabriz are considered as low consumption areas and cities such as the northern cities of the country as very low consumption areas, so in these areas, dateis mostly used occasionally and seasonally in religious events such as national and religious mourning and holy religious days such as Muharram, Safar and Ramadan.
At these times the consumption of this fruit increases. Normally, people in date-prone areas consume this fruit mostly in bulk, and people in other areas consume it in small and medium-sized packaging, which usually lacks health standards.
According to the statistics above, since the dates consumed by households are supplied only from domestic production and its share of exports is more than the share of household consumption, considering the increase in date production in Iran, planning for the export of this product is very important.
Conclusion and suggestion:
Given that Iran is the second largest producer of dates in the world and can cover domestic demand without needing imported dates, in order to have better valuation, economic prosperity and job creation, the followings should be considered:
- It is expected that with the investment and use of modern packaging methods and its variety, a major share of date exports in world markets can be achieved.
- In Iran, most of the dates produced are used in conversion industries such as date syrup, cakes, cookies, etc., which can be increased by investing in conversion industries in addition to creating employment for the export of this type of products.
Iran is one of the top three countries in terms of date production, but in terms of productivity, it has the seventh and eighth rank. In contrast, Tunisia, although producing less dates than Iran, ranks second and third in the world in terms of productivity.
Therefore, considering the high potentials that Iran has in the field of date production, by increasing the supervision of relevant organizations and training gardeners and traders, date fruits, especially Mazafati dates, which are the most produced in Iran, can have the best profitability and valuation.
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