The harvest of Iranian dates started about a month ago. After a few years of drought the country finally saw some rain in the spring. It’s resulted in a healthy crop for the 2019 harvest, although the quantity is quite a bit less than the 2018 campaign.
According to Ms. Behnaz H. Beik, the managing director of exporter Aban Arya Tejarat Gostar Co., the Iranian date season will be a good one. Although their company will have slightly less dates than in 2018, the total amount of exported dates from Iran will surpass the quantity of the 2018 season.
“Due to rainy spring and high levels of precipitation that we had this year after a few years of drought, 2019's crop is expected to be healthy and very good. Aban Arya’s crop of 2019 has bigger berries, while the total quantity is smaller by 20% comparing with 2018's. Last year, total export volume of Iranian dates was over 350,000 MT and this year, it is expected for the total amount to rise above this figure.” she explained.
“Harvest season for all varieties of Iranian dates started around the mid of August and will continue until the end of October. So harvest of some varieties, like Mozafati, started since four weeks ago and is in progress right now. Iran is home to more than 400 varieties of dates. The reason is that if you plant a date seed, when the resulting palm tree bears fruit, a new variety is born.”
The dates can be particularly useful to consumers who live in countries with a colder climate, says Beik: “Iranian dates are exported to all continents of the world. However the main markets for dates are countries with a cold climate; due to the energy and heat that dates can release inside the body. Dates are a valuable and pleasant nutritional source for the people of such countries. We would like to enter the Chinese market and expand our business in the Indian market. These two countries have the largest population in the world. So naturally China and India are two most attractive markets full of potential buyers of our products, therefore, we find them interesting.”
When asked about dealing with competition, Beik feels Iran is in a very good position. “Competitors are different by dates varieties. For instance, for a semi-dry variety like ‘Sayer’, Pakistan is the competitor while for fresh dates we consider Tunisia as our competitor. Of course, Iran is the second largest producer of dates in the world. Hence there aren’t a lot of other countries that can really compete with us. Thanks to our dates' reasonable prices and numerous varieties that we have, we have an edge compared to other date-producing countries in the world. For the last ten years, Iran has put in major efforts to create one of the most attractive packaging for dates.”
Aban Arya has been growing dates organically for as long as Beik can remember: “Iranian growers are using traditional methods while planting, growing and harvesting. This means they’re cultivating dates the same way acted as their ancestors from a hundred years back. So, we’re proud to say that Iranian dates, with their nice aroma and pleasant sweetness, are one of the best in the world. Our country is located in the world's major growing land of date fruit. As a matter of fact, the Persian Gulf, with an almost 7000 year history of growing dates, is well-known in the world as the motherland of this fruit.” Beik concludes.