Iran exports flowers, ornamental plants to 30 countries
According to official figures Iran exported flowers and ornamental plants valued at $25 million to 30 countries in the year to March 21, 2018, said the head of Ornamental Plants Research Center of the Iranian Agricultural Jihad Ministry, IRNA reports.
Speaking to Iran Daily, Mohammadreza Shafi’ei added this comes as unofficial data put the country’s exports of flowers and ornamental plants at $50 million in the same period.
Further elaborating on this, he said it is likely that, due to any given reason, a part of the products’ exports has not been registered officially as some businessman refrain from announcing the exact amount of exports or some send a limited amount of their products to foreign markets unofficially as the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration laws and regulations allow them to do this.
He said the overseas sales of flowers and ornamental plants can fetch the country $1 billion in a short period of time, in case the ground is prepared to this end.
The central Iranian cities of Mahallat and Varamin are home to the vastest area under cultivation of flowers and ornamental plants in the country growing the greatest diversity of such floral products, Shafi’ei noted.
“Mahallat, alone, accounted for over $20 million of the country’s total exports of flowers and ornamental plants in the year to March 2018.”
He put the the industry’s global annual turnover at $150 billion, expressing regret that although Iran accounts for 1.5 percent of the world’s yearly production, its share of the international exports of these products fails to exceed 0.1 percent.
“We are required to put in a more effective performance in the fields of harvesting, sorting, packaging and providing maintenance for the products and improve our marketing activities to identify new export destinations.”
During the past few years, the major part of Iran’s exports of flowers and ornamental plants was destined to, mainly, Iraq, he said, adding Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Russia were other major markets for Iranian products.
Shafiei said, “Our products are even exported to countries such as the Netherlands, France, Japan and the US, which are, themselves, among the world’s major producers of flowers and ornamental plants.”
Red willow, for instance, is among the Iranian ornamental plants exported to European countries.
He described cultivation of flowers and ornamental plants as a lucrative industry, capable of generating substantial revenue and helping create jobs, adding given the higher global cultural and economic growth, it is currently gaining greater popularity in the world.
“In addition to the world’s top producers of flowers and ornamental plants such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, good investment has been made in the industry by states including China, India, Turkey, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ecuador, Morocco and Colombia.”
Shafiei listed climate diversity, adequate sunlight and availability of inexpensive fuel and energy resources as well as workforce as the advantages making growing flowers and ornamental plants in Iran a profitable industry.
He lauded Iran’s rich gene bank of flowers and ornamental plants, saying the country has been home to the genetic origins of many flowers like rose, gillyflower, gladiola, iris and primula.
Shafiei noted that Iran imported flowers’ seeds, onions and seedlings valued at $10 million during the 12-month period to March, 2018.
He said the Islamic Republic has been exporting flower since 1991, adding the foreign trade balance in this industry has always been in favor of the country throughout all these years.
At present, there is no production unit in Iran with an under-cultivation-area of five to 10 hectares exclusively producing flower and ornamental plants, he regretted.
“In case we manage to build such large units in the country, we would be able to meet the high demands of Russian and Central Asian markets.”
He said Iran’s production of flowers and ornamental plants reflects a growing trend, adding as per the policies adopted by the Iranian Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, the country’s area under greenhouse cultivation is required to be expanded to 48,000 hectares from the present 13,000 hectares by 2025
“This will help increase the country’s output.”
Generally, circa 30 percent of the country’s greenhouses are used for growing flowers and ornamental plants and the rest are involved in production of cucurbits.