There are three general types of pistachio suppliers when it comes to exporting and importing pistachio products into the international markets. Some countries export their own pistachios. These are called producing pistachio suppliers (PPS). There are also countries that re-export pistachios produced by other nations.
These are called non-producing pistachio suppliers (NPS). The third pistachio supplier group works to distribute pistachios within a given country. We call them inbound pistachio suppliers (IPS).
This article focuses on producing pistachio suppliers (PPS), highlighting their recent past, present, and future production and export. Comparison is made between them when necessary. We learn about non-producing pistachio suppliers (NPS) and inbound pistachio suppliers (IPS) in other posts.
Who are Producing Pistachio Suppliers (PPS)?
A handful of countries supply 100% of pistachios in the world. The US, Iran, and Turkey produce 86% of the world’s pistachio, and Syria, Italy, Spain, Greece, Tunisia, Afghanistan, China, and Australia account for the remaining 14%. Statistics regarding pistachio production in each country are given in table 1.
The export volume and target markets are discussed for each country in the section below. Also, a comparison is made between supplying countries when necessary.
The US, the leading supplier
The US is the leading pistachio supplier with just over 46% of the world’s share. In 2020, the country exported 225,000 tons of mostly in-shell pistachios (the equivalent of 70% of its production) to different countries worldwide.
The US wins where Iran fails. The large US share of the global pistachio market is mainly due to the very small crop in Iran in recent years (Table 1 and Table 2). According to table 2, the US pistachio export has made little progress despite the production increase and the marketing support it receives from the government.
The main destinations for American pistachios are China (including Hong Kong) and the European market. Among European countries, Germany (30%), Belgium (27%), and the Netherlands (14%) constitute the primary destinations for American pistachios. The US’s pistachio export to Germany now stands at 19,000 tons, more than twice the amount in 2014 (8,600 tons).
Iran, a stable pistachio supplier
Iran’s share of the global pistachio market has fallen considerably to only 26% due to several factors, including severe water shortage and post-harvest mismanagement. The US-imposed sanctions have also affected pistachio export from Iran, but not as severely as the internal factors.
Iran remains a stable pistachio supplier to its client countries, despite fluctuations in crop size. The country exports nearly 75% of its annual production to retain its clientele.
In 2020, Iran exported 185,000 tons of mostly in-shell pistachios to the international markets, 30% up from the figure in 2019 (140,000 tons). The country’s export to global markets is estimated at around 135,000 tons in 2021/2022.
The Iranian share of pistachio kernels is much higher than other competitors. On average, Iran supplies 70% of pistachio kernels demanded by the international markets. Table 3 summarizes the export share and major destinations for exported Iranian pistachio products in 2020.
As you can see, open in-shell pistachio comprises 77% of exports from Iran, followed by closed-shell pistachios (12%), natural kernels (10%), and green peeled pistachio kernels or GPPK (1%).
Turkey, an emerging pistachio supplier
Turkey is not a significant pistachio supplier as it is a pistachio producer. The country’s export to international markets is minimal compared to the US and Iran, with only less than 1% of global exports.
Europe (50%) is the main destination for exported pistachios from Turkey. China, UAE, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, India, and the US are among the remaining countries that import pistachio from Turkey. Among European countries, Italy (67%) and Germany (18%) are the main markets, followed far behind by Spain (2%) and France (1%).
Turkey is the second-largest consumer of pistachio after the US. Most Turkish pistachio suppliers work to supply to the local markets. The majority of pistachio produced in Turkey is used in Turkish baklava.
Traditionally, there has never been a pistachio surplus for export. Turkey managed to export 20,000 tons of excess pistachio to international markets in 2020. However, with the small crop of 89,000 tons this year, it seems the country will need to import pistachio to support its domestic market in 2022.
Syria, a returning pistachio supplier
As of 2021, Syria produces around 3% of the world’s pistachio. According to INC, the production volume for Syria stands at about 22,000 tons in 2021/2022. The majority of pistachio produced in Syria comes from Murak, a city in the country’s northwestern part. The city accounts for 60% of the national production.
Syria is considered a returning pistachio supplier while still reeling from the civil war. There are no official records regarding pistachio exports from Syria, but the country managed to export 556 tons of pistachios to Europe and Arab countries in 2020. Before 2014, the country exported pistachios to Europe, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey.
Italy, the leading European producer
Italy is the leading producer of pistachio in Europe. The country produces between 2,500 to 3,000 tons of pistachio per year, with 90% of the production concentrated in the Bronte area in the Sicilian province of Catania. The country is forecasted to produce 1,000 tones in 2021/2022.
Italy imports an additional 6,000 to 8,000 tons of pistachio to support its local consumption. The country’s exports of pistachio stand at 1,200 tonnes.
Greece, a Silent Pistachio Supplier
Greece produces 7,200 tons of pistachio per year. Attica region (including Aegina Island) is Greece’s main pistachio growing area.
In 2019, the country exported approximately 1,056 tons of pistachios (in-shell and shelled) to Europe and the world. The main destinations for Greece pistachio were Italy, Italy (368 tons), Spain (102 tons), Cyprus (96 tons), Bulgaria (68 tons), Lithuania (80 tons).
Spain, a growing pistachio producer
Spain is the second major pistachio-producing country in Europe, with an average annual production of 1,200 tons. Production in Spain showed a plausible increase in productivity in 2018, producing a record crop of 3,000 tones, a figure recurring in 2021/2022.
Pistachio suppliers are divided into three main groups:
Producing pistachio suppliers (PPS)
Non-producing pistachio suppliers (NPS).
Inbound pistachio suppliers (IPS).
In this article, we expanded on producing pistachio suppliers. You can find information about the other two groups in other posts.
Do you live in a producing pistachio supplier country?
How much do you export annually?
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