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Pistachio nut, Pistachia vera / Anacardiaceae
Pistachios come from Syria, although they grow spontaneously in other places. The main producing countries are Iran and the U.S.A. (California). In Spain the production is relatively recent, producing 150t, but it is considered as an alternative culture in arid areas of dry farming.

The origin seems to be Syria, but it is also found spontaneously in Palestine, the coast of Asia Minor and the Middle East, as well as in Western India and Russian Central Asia. From Syria and Persia it moved to the Mediterranean countries and its presence in the world is very old. Even the Bible and other texts previous to Christ include references on the pistachio tree. In Spain it was introduced during the Roman period, the Arabians developed the culture and it disappeared in the Middle Ages with the moriscos. The culture was once again introduced in the 1980’s decade, starting in Lérida (Catalonia).

The world production is 330,000t distributed per continents in the following way:

Continent
Thousand tons
Africa2
Asia236
Europe5
North America85
Oceania-
South America-
Total328

Source: FAO Production Yearbook (1998)
The main producing countries in each continent are:

Country
Thousand tons
Iran130
The USA85
Turkey40
Syria36
China28F(*)
Greece5

Source: FAO Production Yearbook (1998)

(*) F: Value estimated by the FAO

The main pistachio producing countries in order of importance are Iran, the U.S.A. (California), Turkey, Syria, China and Greece.

The implantation of this culture in Spain is very recent; therefore, there are no important plantations, although they can be considered an alternative to other surplus dry farming cultures in arid and semi-arid areas.

In Spain, at the moment, there are 1,000ha of culture and the area of greater production is Cataluña. Special emphasize should be given to the province of Lérida.

Area
HectaresTons
Cataluña35040
Extremadura15040

Castilla-La Mancha
25030
Andalucía17525
Others7515

Total
1,000150


Source: La Horticultura Española (2001)

The greater world importer is Germany; followed by Spain, with an import of 12,000t a year, mainly coming from Iran (6,000t), Germany (3,800t, re-export), Turkey and other countries (2,200t). Next, France and the Middle East countries. The United States have enough with the production of California.
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