Record U.S. Pistachio Exports Forecast in 1997/98
U.S. pistachio exports (in-shell basis) for marketing year 1997/98 (September-August) are forecast at a record 55,000 metric tons, 39 percent above the previous year's shipments and 14 percent above the record set in 1995/96 (48,927 tons valued at $97.5 million). An expected record U.S. harvest, a short Iranian crop, and the residual effects of a ban by the European Union (EU) on imports of Iranian pistachios are expected to boost U.S. exports.
A severe frost in April 1997 reduced Iran's pistachio harvest by 50 to 70 percent. Iran is the world's largest pistachio producer/exporter, accounting for about 56 percent of world production and about 70 percent of world exports. Although reliable data are not available for Iran, the International Nut Council estimated Iran's 1996/97 pistachio exports at 136,000 tons.
The 1997/98 U.S. pistachio crop is forecast at a record 80,300 tons, almost 70 percent above the previous year's weather reduced harvest. California accounts for nearly all of the U.S. pistachio production, with nearly 70 percent of their production expected to go for export. The United States is the world's second largest pistachio producer/exporter after Iran.
U.S. Export Demand
Major U.S. export markets in 1996/97 were Hong Kong, accounting for 34 percent of total U.S. exports, the EU 27 percent, Canada 10 percent, and Japan and Singapore 4 percent each. Most retail consumers, foreign and domestic, prefer in-shell pistachios. Nevertheless, the U.S. industry is working to expand its presence in the food manufacturing sector.
Tariff reductions around the world resulting from the Uruguay Round agreement and various bilateral trade agreements have helped to facilitate growth in U.S. pistachio exports. Further, the Market Access Program has assisted the California pistachio industry for a decade in key markets.
For more information, contact William Janis at (202) 720-0897.