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Tracing Pistachio growing in the world and study local and international varieties

From Iran-Afghanistan to turkey and USA

Raw or roasted Pistachio both are types of a popular nut which is very delicious and tasty.

Different pistachio varieties by different shapes and tasted are available in the market.

The nut is uses by households and students specifically in the EU, NORTH AMERICA and some other countries.

The growth habits of pistachio.

pistachio has specific characteristics in comparison of other nuts.

As an example, male and female trees are independent and it is needed to have both of them in an orchard.

What pollinate the trees is wind but not bees.

Male pistachio
Female pistachio branch

Dormancy period

The tree needs at least 1000 hours of 7 degree Celsius as dormancy to bear crops.

What damage the productivity

Heavy rain fall in spring or mild winter reduce the productivity.

Harvesting season

In Turkey, Iran and USA September is the norm of harvesting season.

Amount of pistachio Production by countries in the world in 2019 and 2020(interactive pie chart is available).

Iran (195,000 tons per year) and USA(375,000 metric tons) are supplying most of the world’s consumption.

Pistachio production base one share if countries2019-2020:

Chart by Visualizer

Pistachio comes from a wild tree which grows in Eastern and Central parts of Iran.

Origin of the nut


In the mountainous parts of Afghanistan pistachio is available in its wild form of it, like fig trees.

Herat is one of the cities in Afghanistan which currently produce pistachios and because of the government’s new policies most of the farmers are shifting from other traditional plants to plant the nut and Saffron.

Afghanistan pistachio farm in Herat

International subsidies to encourage Afghan farmers.

Recently saffron and pistachio cultivation is getting much more popular specially since international organizations encourage Afghan farmers to plan the plants like saffron and the nut instead of those horrible traditional plants and encouraging farmers by lower importing and exporting tariffs in comparison of other producers and competitors.

As a result of such a welcoming condition Afghanistan is a new but with a high potential competitor in the market.

In Afghanistan, pistachios grow in mountains parts in the west, north and north-east of the country and do not need irrigation. Gardening experts said however if pistachio trees are planted on flat land and irrigated regularly, trees will yield far more nuts.

Geographic map of the provinces which are producing pistachio in Afghanistan

Most of the nut trees in USA are in California.


Is currently competing in the market and export its local varieties to other countries.

The country produces 11% or 70000 tons in 2019 of world’s pistachio Production which was one out of the three of 2018 production which was competing with iran by 220000 tons because of off-season and climate condition.

The cities which produce 95% of pistachios in turkey.

Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Adiyaman, Siirt, Kahramanmaras, Mardin and Diyarbakir are the most significant locations for commercial pistachio production and 90 percent of the total production comes from these provinces.

geographical map of provinces which are producing pistachios in turkey

Among the regions Gaziantep and Sanliurfa are responsible for 50% of turkey pistachio Production.

Due to the geographical map of provinces which are producing pistachios in turkey, most of the pistachio farms are in South and East parts of the country.

One of the reasons may be these parts are closer to Iran which pistachio trees may be carried and had planted.

as well as climate and soil conditions are much more suitable in those parts of the country.


History of pistachio in USA

United States of America is the only country in North America which is produce the nut and plants new trees each year.

About a hundred years ago, pistachio used to be cultivated and exported mostly from Iran.

Those years before seedlings were exported to USA Iran was producing about 85% of the world’s nut Production.

In 1880 some Americans who were living in the middle east import amount of pistachio to the US as Souvenir.

About 50 years later pistachio was like an snack for people of USA and mostly sold by vending machines.

In mid 1930 researchers started to study about the possibility of planting trees in Central valley of California by importing selected breeds from Kerman province in Iran.

About 30 years later, California was nearing to have about 50000 hectares of pistachio orchards.

Finally California pistachio found its way to global market and usa become one of tye leaders of pistachio Production in the world.

Geographical map of provinces which are producing pistachio in USA

After developing the nut farms in California final USA become among the top tree in the world.

USA imported pistachio seedlings from Iran and cultivated that along the region.

What are Off-year and on-year expressions for pistachios.

One of the factors which is important for the variety and the nut specially in turkey are on-year and off-year seasons.

Which means because of some environmental reasons like drought in Southern part of Anatolia and the tree characteristic itself we have good crop for a year and weak crop for one or two coming years.


Before the war of Syria and its crisis, Syria used to produce 40000-80000 tons of pistachio per year.

Geographical map of provinces which are producing pistachio in Syria

Syria is a country which has borders with Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Isreal and Lebanon.

Hence, the country has specific condition for farming and trade.

Syria is a rich habitat of plants like tobacco, pistachios and date plam.

In normal years the country exports its products abroad.

In case of political and Economical stability in Syria the country is an important player of pistachio even domestically and in the region.


Pistachio production in Iran has a long history.

Most of the varieties are chosen by local farmers and developing by choosing and grafting good trees and cultivating them during decades.

Iran produces in average 220-250k tons of different varieties per year.

Cities which produce the most

Kerman, Rafsanjan and Mahvelat are the cities which produce the nut.


The city is in the south-east of iran and was capital of the country hundred years ago.

The City has hot climate and very rich in culture.

Some of the Handicrafts of kerman has international reputation like carpet and gelim.

Iran has 360000 hectares of pistachio farms and 270000 hectares of that is in Kerman.

The oldest proof of pistachio cultivation

The oldest proof of pistachio cultivation is a semi burnt branch of pistachio which were found in Fasa (Fars province) which backs to 4000 years ago.

geographical map of pistachio Production in iiran by provinces

Most of the varieties which are available in the world come from the city .

Rafsanjan pistachio.

Rafsanjan is in the Kerman and famous for its pistachio.

The nut is exported around the world.

haj agha ali house in rafsanjan

The first growing areas of pistachio trees in Iran

The wild pistachio forests of Iran

in the northeastern region of Iran, Sarakhs region and its southern regions up to Zudabad(zood abad) Torbat-e Jam, have an ancient background.

It is thought that the pistachio tree was domesticated and cultivated in Iran about 3-4 thousand years ago and then, it was transferred to other parts of the world especially the countries around the Mediterranean Sea.

Among the opinions that is important about the origin of pistachio trees, in addition to Iran, Afghanistan and Turkestan.

However, the current territories of Iran, Afghanistan and Turkestan are geographical units with separate political borders.

One of the oldest pistachio growing areas in Iran is Sarakhs, Gorgan, Qom.

Also, according to the available documents, the cultivation of this crop was common in Qazvin, Semnan, Jiroft and Damghan 1500 years ago.

While the age of Rafsanjan, Kerman, Sirjan, Yazd, Isfahan and Zarand regions is between 100 to 250 years.

The history of Zahedan, Saravan, Dargaz, Varamin and Abadeh in pistachio cultivation is less than 100 years.

At present, the province and Rafsanjan region are considered as the most important pistachio growing region in Iran and the world.

In ancient Arabic books, the word pistachio is used in contrast to the Arabic word (فستق)