A spokesman of the Iranian customs office (IRICA) said on Wednesday that date shipments sent to 52 countries over the four-month period had amounted to nearly 61,000 metric tons in volume terms.
Rouhollah Latifi said that Iranian premium quality dates are becoming increasingly popular in markets from Scandinavia to South America.
“From a quality perspective, Iranian date varieties are unique in the world,” said Latifi, adding that the Mazafati variety, generally cultivated in southeastern Iran, was responsible for a bulk of revenue earned from date exports over the four months to late July with around $29 million.
The official said Iraq, once one of the main date producers in the world, was the top buyer of Iranian dates with nearly $10 million worth of purchases, followed by Pakistan and Kazakhstan at $7.7 million and $5.92 million, respectively.
Faced with growing restrictions on its sale of oil, Iran has relied on agrifood exports as a major source of earning hard currency in recent years.
Increased exports and better weather condition has caused a boom in the Iranian agriculture sector as it grew by nearly 10 percent in the past fiscal year ending late March.
Business sources believe Iran is the second largest producer of dates in the world on 1.2 million tons of annual output. They also put Iran on top of the world’s list of largest date exporters ahead of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the two other leading producers.
A bulk of Iran's date production comes from arid regions in the south where some exquisite types of the golden fruit like Piarom, Zahedi and Kabkab are cultivated.