Iran's world quality pistachios worry US growers

February 22, 2016 11:02 am 

TEHRAN, Feb. 21 — American pistachio farmers are worried about competition from their sanctions-free Iranian rivals who no longer face limitations for exporting their products to the United States, NPR reported.

"This year, the industry is hoping to recover, but growers across the country may face a different issue: competition stemming from the lifting of sanctions against Iran," it said.

The American pistachio industry didn't boom until an embargo was put in place on the Iranian nut in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran which according to NPR opened the door for the U.S. pistachio market to flourish.

"An average consumer, they would see an American pistachio and an Iranian pistachio, and they're going to say, yeah, there's something different. Ours tend to be round; theirs tend to be a little more long. Almost in every other market around the world, we compete with them on a day-to-day basis."

Farmers are worried that Iran will flood the U.S. market with it world quality nuts, the report said.

It also said that American pistachio growers don't need to worry — at least, not yet because of tariffs.

"Back in 1986, the U.S. pistachio industry successfully lobbied for a 300 percent tariff on Iranian pistachios. Thirty years later, that means that even though Iran can now legally sell the green nut to American retailers, consumers will have to pay three times as much for Iranian pistachios as they do for U.S.-grown ones."

In Tulare County, Calif., Brian Blackwell who manages more than 10,000 acres of nuts said if the subsidized Iranian pistachios were allowed into the U.S., it would hurt the growers whose farms he manages.

"If they're bringing in product for less than what we can grow it for, and we have to compete in the marketplace, at least here in the United States, then that means product is going to be sold at a lower price. And therefore the processors and marketers are going to give growers a lower price," he said.

Iranian pistachios could hit the American market sooner than expected, the report said. (PNA/IRNA)

LGI/SSC

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