It appears that pistachio production will be substantial this year. After an impressive year of production in 2020, pistachio growers were expecting an off-year in 2021. However, American Pistachio Growers President Richard Matoian explained that production levels will be surpassing initial expectations.
“We were expecting below a billion pounds since we hit a billion-pound crop last year in 2020. But mother nature surprised us as mother nature does in many years,” said Matoian. “We are going to end up having a pistachio crop somewhere between 1.1 to 1.2 billion pounds in 2021 which is phenomenal even in an on-year but here we are in an off-year. So, it was a surprise, but a good surprise.”
Two sequential years of impressive yields can often lead to lower prices with too many nuts in the market. However, Matoian said that “worldwide supply is not as high as it could be in a normal year.” Pistachio production in Iran is lower than average due to a significant freeze that impacted significant growing regions. Matoian explained that another major competitor, Turkey, also has lower than average production for 2021. While global competition sets the stage for a good year for California producers, there are still challenges for the industry.
Disruptions within the supply chain are creating problems for industry members, specifically issues with transportation. The cost and availability of shipping containers are making it difficult to get products to international markets. Matoian noted that some exporters have had to work to overcome routine shipping delays in order to meet global demand.
“Many more people are shipping product not with a sale in-hand but with anticipation of a sale,” Matoian explained. “Certainly not with every shipper and every marketer, but it’s happening with a lot of them, particularly the larger ones who need to move a lot of product. They are just staging it in a given country or in an area of the world that it can then be moved from pretty effectively.”