Pistachio is one of the principal traditional export products of Iran and, since ancient times, has always occupied a special position in the foreign trade of the country. Thumbing back through the pages of history, we can observe that pistachio trees have existed since thousands of years ago, but were so rare that only the royal and rich families could possess some. Today the finest pistachio is native to Iran. In Kerman province, especially the region surrounding Rafsanjan city, more than 160 hectares of land are under pistachio cultivation, and about 95% of the pistachio of the country is produced here. The ideal climatic conditions of this area, with abundance of sunshine and perfect soil for the growth of pistachio trees, gives the pistachio the most natural taste and flavor that no other type of pistachio can equal.
A natural snack for health-conscious individuals, Iranian pistachio constitutes an ideal ingredient in the preparation of a variety of dishes and sweets and is served during party receptions and family gatherings. Pistachio has the highest protein content and nutritional value, and is second to none in the world for its high energy content. It contains a high percentage of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and all the essential amino acids. It is believed that the consumption of pistachio reduces the risk of heart attack and death from coronary diseases. To enjoy its unique taste, the pistachio nuts should be salted, roasted and eaten out of the shell. In the years following the Islamic revolution of Iran, from the view point of job creation and export earnings, pistachio has always been the prime non-oil export product of Iran. Consequently, changes that occur in the international market of this product have a profound effect on the economy of the country.
During the last decade, the global production of pistachio has increased by 90% and some of the main reasons for this, in Iran and the USA, are the employment of new cultivation lands, effective pest and disease control and the prevention of wastage of the product. Iran not only produces the finest variety of pistachio, but can also boast to be the highest producer of this product with an annual average output of 130,000 tons during the past several years. In the previous year, the pistachio production in Iran amounted to 113,000 tons and it has been forecasted that the production would increase by 50 percent in the coming five years. While during this same period, the global production of pistachio is expected to reach 400,000 tons. Presently the USA, Turkey, and Syria are the main competitors of Iranian pistachio in the world markets.