Iran Pistachio Association (IPA) was established in 2007 to bring together the various sectors of the pistachio industry (growers, processors, service providers, and exporters) to further their interests. Iranian pistachio industry, consisting of a large number of privately owned businesses, always lacked a powerful collective voice. In the absence of this collective voice, the fate of the industry was in the hands of well-meaning bureaucrats. The incentive to set up a non-profit private organization to address the problems facing the industry and to further its general good grew gradually among some forward-thinking figures in the Iranian pistachio industry.
The principal objectives of IPA, above and beyond establishing itself as a representative and think-tank of the Iranian pistachio industry, was to diagnose diverse problems and complications that afflict the industry and offer expert advice and guidance to members as well as the well-meaning government entities that, in Iran, set economic policies and export procedures. IPA’s scope of activities embraces promotion of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in orchards, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in processing plants, storing facilities and during transportation, the extension of credit facilities for traders and the promotion and expansion of exports by helping to channel government supports along lines that best suit the industry.
In order to achieve its goal of promoting and furthering the interests of the pistachio industry, the IPA has three main commissions, each headed by a Board member, charged with solving the various issues faced by the industry:
⦁ Horticulture Commission
⦁ Commerce Commission
⦁ Water Commission
Iranian pistachios offer various advantages that set them apart from competitors. Greater choice is offered to customers through four main commercial varieties. Additionally, higher meat content offers better value for money. Iranian pistachios have a world-famous taste that is unrivaled. This taste advantage is enhanced by roasting Iranian pistachios at higher temperatures, made possible by higher unsaturated oil content. This high-temperature roasting eliminates any bacterial contamination, which may be present in the raw product. The following list details the five major attributes of Iranian pistachios:
The most significant of these attributes from the consumers’ perspective is a high meat content that offers the best value for money in the pistachio market. On average, Iranian pistachios have a ten percent advantage on the edible part of the in-shell nut, when compared to pistachios from other origins.
Another significant attribute of Iranian pistachios that make them adjustable to different markets is that they come in many different varieties and sizes: from 18/20 nut counts per ounce, to 36/38. Each variety has its own differing properties and flavor.
The many pistachio nut varieties of Iranian origin have an unrivaled taste-profile resulting from their higher oil content. Over a long period, consumers around the world have shown a preference for the taste of Iranian pistachios. All four commercial varieties of Iranian pistachios each have a rich, unique and distinctive flavor.
Due to their higher unsaturated oil content, Iranian pistachios have the capacity to be roasted at between 160 to 180°C (hot air stream temperature). Good roasting brings out the unique flavor of the nut. It is obvious that lower roasting temperatures of around 120°C recommended by some suppliers will not achieve the above benefit.
The large number of producers, buyers, exporters, and importers of Iranian pistachios makes for conditions of perfect competition in the market. As a result, fairer trading opportunities present themselves to those engaged in buying and selling Iranian pistachios. In the absence of conditions of perfect competition, the market may face price-fixing and market manipulation by influential players.
There are tens of varieties of pistachios developed by curious Iranian farmers, on a small scale. Every decade or two one of these varieties has been developed and has been seen as advantageous in certain aspects, so it has been taken up by other farmers. Some of these varieties have endured enough to become stable commercial varieties. In general, all commercial varieties of Iranian pistachios fall into two categories by shape: round and long. When the length to diameter ratio is greater than 1.5, then that variety is classified as long, a ratio below 1.5 is called round. Currently, there are four different commercial varieties of pistachios cultivated in Iran, which have differing characteristics and properties.
Average total annual export of all different Iranian pistachio products is around 160,000 tons with an estimated grand total value of close to USD 1.5 billion. Dried in-shell pistachios are generally exported in bulk form, mostly raw. Newer markets sometimes require bulk roasted pistachios because pistachio roasters are different from roasters used for other types of nuts. Natural pistachio kernels and green kernels are also exported.