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Global Pistachio Production Hits New Records in 2020/21

February 28, 2021

Pistachio producers around the globe have many reasons to rejoice during marketing year 2020/21. In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service released its Tree Nuts: World Markets and Trade report, detailing the surge in global pistachio production. In 2020/21, production exploded by 40%, hitting a record 985,000 metric tons of in-shell pistachios.

Global Production and Consumption Rankings

The U.S. continues to lead the world in pistachio production and is forecast to reach 476,000 metric tons in 2020/21. This is attributable to it currently being the on-year of the alternate-bearing crop cycle alongside an increase in bearing acreage. During 2018/19, the previous comparable marketing year, U.S. production was 447,696 tons. This represents an increase of 28,302 tons for the current marketing year.

Turkey is the second-largest global producer by volume and is set to produce 250,000 tons of pistachios in 2020/21, nearly tripling output. Good conditions in southeastern Turkey, where most Turkish pistachio orchards are located, plus a boost from the on-year has resulted in this high forecast. However, most of Turkey’s harvest will be consumed domestically, leaving little left for international exports. Turkish domestic consumption is expected to hit 211,000 tons.

Iran is the third-largest pistachio producer by volume, with production forecast to reach 190,000 tons. Exports to China were particularly strong, but this high trade volume is expected to decrease as supplies dwindle. Iranian domestic pistachio consumption is forecast to remain unchanged at 30,000 tons for 2020/21.

Syria and the European Union are estimated to reach 50,000 and 18,000 tons of pistachio production, respectively. The U.S. supplies the majority of the European market. Consumption by Syria and the European Union is forecast at 45,500 and 137,730 tons, respectively.

Chinese Consumption and Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Chinese Tree Nut Annual states that manufacturers are marketing tree nuts to young professionals as a healthy and nutritious choice. Despite some setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese pistachio consumption will likely continue its forward momentum.

China is estimated to account for 35.5% of total global pistachio imports during 2020/21, with an anticipated total of 150,000 tons. This represents growth of 45% from 2019/20, chiefly due to increased shipments from Iran and the U.S.

China has been gradually developing its pistachio production capacity. The Tree Nuts Annual notes that Chinese production is forecast at 500 tons for 2020/21. This experimental growing acreage is mostly located within southern Xinjiang and is largely hindered by an absence of “proper farming technology.” Time is still needed to determine the best planting locations and pistachio varieties for China.

Images: Pexels (main image), © 2021 Produce Report (body images)

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