Iran ranks third in walnut production: Iranian walnut does not play a role in world trade
Walnut is one of the types of nuts and dried fruits that have many health benefits and in recent years, walnut producers have tried to increase the production percentage by improving the conditions of planting and growing this product.
Although Iran occupies the third place in the production of walnuts in the world and this product has a high capacity to realize a resistance economy based on agriculture, non-oil economy and foreign exchange, but it does not have a good position in terms of exporting this product among the top 20 exporting countries.
According to the researches, walnuts produced in Iran do not have a global demand due to differences in size, shape, amount of kernels, percentage of oil and quality characteristics, the causes of which may be because of the difference in the genotypes in the orchards due to seed cultivation, the issue of differentiation of traits and the proliferation of inferior genotypes.
Due to the production of different genotypes as a result of pollination with other trees, the use of seeds in walnut propagation is not commercially suitable, and walnut vegetative propagation methods (apomixis, laying, cuttings, tissue culture, and grafting) should be used.
260 thousand tons of walnut harvest in Iran
The researcher and head of Research Institute of Horticultural Sciences of the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad told: About 163 thousand hectares of garden lands in the country are cultivated with walnut trees, of which 130 thousand hectares are fruitful and 33 The remaining 1,000 hectares are newly constructed gardens.
Dr. Asghar Soleimani stated that 260,000 tons of crops are harvested annually from these orchards, adding that the average harvest per hectare is estimated at 2 tons.
He stated that Iran’s place in walnut production is third or some years fourth in the world and said: China and America are the first and second countries, and sometimes Iran and sometimes Turkey get the third place.
He said: “Walnut is a product that has been widely discussed in the world in recent years due to its extremely high nutritional value, because it is rich in omega-3 and high-quality oils, so that 60% of its kernel is oil, and it is high in protein.” It has 14 to 15% protein, which is close to red meat.
Soleimani added: This dried fruit is rich in antioxidants and mineral elements such as phosphorus, which is very important for the health of the brain and heart, and due to its high nutritional value, its trade in the new nutrition system in the world has received a lot of attention, especially It is an alternative for people who do not eat meat.
He continued: In the last 10 years, the production of walnuts has received great attention in the world, and different countries have gone towards the production and development of the export of this product, and its production has a high value and status in Iran, and has the same potential. We have world-class production, and we hope that one day, like pistachios, our walnuts will have a global reputation.
Iranian walnut cultivation around the world/Iranian walnut does not play a role in world trade
Soleimani stated that there are many types of walnuts in the world, but the one that is used commercially is the Iranian walnut, which is known as Iran, and added: The origin of this walnut is Iran, which has gone from our country to many countries, so that It has made its way from the east to China and from the west to Europe and from Europe and America.
He said: Despite this capacity, unfortunately, we do not have a role in world trade, and despite being the third largest producer in the world, Iran’s position in walnut exports is not good, the main reason for which is that we do not have commercial gardens, and most of our gardens are the result of trees that produce seeds or seedlings. We have planted and it has grown.
He added: This method of cultivation of walnut trees has caused a very high variety in the product, so that the product of each tree is different from the next tree, while the domestic and foreign markets want a uniform and uniform product with special characteristics.
This researcher stated: The global markets demand white or high-fat walnuts or paper skins, and the market wants the uniformity of the product, but the large variety of the product does not allow commercial goods with this feature, which is a major problem to enter the global markets with this product.
The performance of Iranian walnut trees is half in comparison to the world
Soleimani considered another problem of walnut production in Iran to be the low performance of walnut orchards compared to the world and said: the yield of these orchards per unit area is almost half of the world average, which is nearly four tons per unit area, but Iran’s is less than 2 tons. The main reason is that our trees are seeds, which are the result of seeds, not the result of modified cultivars.
Soleimani reminded: Walnut trees in the country are severely damaged in spring frosts every year, while we have one of the best climates in the world for the development of walnut cultivation, and this is despite the fact that we have a type of walnut called Iranian walnut, which has very good quality, but In practice, this product is not very successful not only in export.
Introducing 6 internally modified walnut varieties and 4 foreign modified varieties to walnut growers
The head of Meshkin Dasht research station of Iran horticultural science research institute said: The research work in the field of walnut began in 1983 and since 2004 we have continued to help this research move forward. For comparative research, it was like an apple product because we had genetically modified cultivars in apples, but we did not have this product available in walnuts.
He added: For this reason, since 1993, the Seedling and Seed Research Institute and then the current Horticultural Science Research Institute gave some foreign cultivars to Iran in a joint project with the FAO organization, and besides that, the walnut breeding work started inside Iran.
Soleimani stated that as a result of this research, four imported foreign cultivars were introduced as compatible with the country’s climatic conditions after almost 18 years of evaluation by the institute, and stated: 2 cultivars Jamal and Damavand were also introduced in 2008 and the improvement work continued. And in 2017, four domestic cultivars named Persia, Caspian, Chaldan and Alvand were introduced as a result of breeding works at the Institute of Horticultural Sciences and were made available to walnut gardeners.
He said: Now the work of mass propagation, sanitization and freezing after modification has started, and it has been a year or two since their commercial propagation started that a company in Hamedan bought the privilege of producing and distributing these cultivars from the Research Institute of Horticultural Sciences and is currently Their reproduction is.
He added: About one million grafted seedlings are being produced from modified foreign cultivars.
100 thousand hectares of walnut orchards need to be improved and transplanted
The walnut researcher of Iran stated that 30 thousand hectares of orchards were created with seedlings of new and improved cultivars that will soon enter the new production system, and stated: About 70 to 80 percent of the 130 thousand hectares of old orchards are seeded. It contains 100,000 hectares and needs to be modified and transplanted, which should either be replaced with new cultivars or branched.
He said: “Several branching” is a way of modifying old trees, where the same old trees are cut and new cultivars are grafted onto their trunks and branches.
Maintaining the top 150 walnut genotypes in the country’s walnut gene bank
Saying that researchers have identified and collected 700 germ plus walnuts from all over Iran, Soleimani added: “Very high diversity is not good for producing a suitable product, but it creates a good opportunity for improvement work to find a good sample among them.” Let’s identify that, for example, they have a good load and are late-leaved or resistant to late spring cold.
He clarified: These samples are planted in the research station, and then we introduce the ones that have a set of good genes for breeding work, or we keep the good traits and cross them, which are now the top 150 genotypes of the country. which we identified from different walnut growing regions of the country, we keep in Meshkin Dasht research station in the main walnut gene bank of the Iran.
He said: Also, 20 foreign varieties collected from different walnut-growing countries are kept in this collection.
Hamadan is the best province in walnut production
Saying that walnuts are planted in 23 out of 31 provinces in Iran, he added: But in the slopes of Alborz and Zagros and the heights of Kerman, walnut cultivation is very prosperous, and Hamadan province has the highest production of walnuts in the country, so that the reform projects of reforming orchards and branches We started work from Tuiserkan city in this province.
According to this researcher, after Hamadan province, Kurdistan and Lorestan provinces are very prominent, and this is while Kerman province has the largest area in terms of cultivated area.
Improvement of walnut orchards is a big step in the commercialization of walnuts in Iran/annual improvement of three to four thousand hectares of walnut orchards
The head of Meshkin Dasht research station of Iran research institute of horticultural sciences stated that a big step will be taken in the commercialization of this product by improving the walnut orchards and stated: The reason for planting seed trees is that walnut grafting has special technology and complications that have been difficult for years. We could not achieve the science that we worked in the Institute of Horticultural Sciences in parallel with cultivar improvement on walnut grafting to produce grafted seedlings and improve old orchards.
He said: Now, both the method of modification and grafting have become routine and all the walnut nurseries in the country have learned this work, so we teach the methods of propagation of seedlings and grafting, while until three to four years ago, a large amount of smuggled seedlings were imported. It used to be the country, but now we have reached a point where seedling producers cover domestic demand and plan for export.
Soleimani added: The production of seedlings was a science that we achieved by ourselves, and in the branch of work, we train many people almost every year, and we hold multi-day courses in the institute, and they are trained in grafting, and these people receive grafting certificates. and now we have a transplanting force in all the provinces of Turdukhiz, and the work of improving orchards is done annually on 3 to 4 thousand hectares, which promises to improve the orchards very quickly and make our production economical.
He continued: In addition to being industrially produced and marketable in global markets, the modified cultivars will naturally open their leaves 20 to 25 days later than the local species, and as a result, with this method, there will be another problem of spring frost. Walnut trees, which are a major problem for walnut orchards, will be solved in new orchards, and we will not have a problem with this issue.
The easy possibility of producing organic products from walnut trees
Regarding walnut diseases in the world, Soleimani said: One of the reasons why people have gone to planting walnut trees is that these trees are not sensitive to diseases and pests, and the possibility of producing organic walnut products is more and easier, and the walnut products are healthy. It is easily produced because we do not have serious diseases in walnuts.
He added: The problem that once plagued the gardens was the worm pest that eats the walnut branches from the inside and the branch is gradually destroyed and there was a risk of breaking the branch for the walnut trees.
He stated that this pest is not the main pest and is a secondary pest, and stated: When the trees are strong, the pests cannot easily attack the walnut trees, but the secondary pest attacks when under stress such as lack of water and food. It should be said that in several years in provinces like Kerman this pest attacked due to drought, but in recent years this issue has been managed and now we rarely see the attack of the earthworm in gardens.
He considered the achievement of the new cultivars to be the creation of healthier gardens, from which physical pollution is no longer removed and said: Another disease of walnut trees is anthracnose, which causes black spots on the leaves of the walnut tree, and if it is severe, it can affect the fruit.
This researcher stated that this disease causes a lot of damage in humid areas such as the north, where there is heavy rain in spring, and noted that 90% of the pollinators are in dry areas where the air humidity is not high and with 30-40% humidity. This fungus does not have much ability to appear and emerge, so it cannot cause economic damage in 90% of gardens.
He named another walnut disease as walnut blight and said: The cause of this disease is a bacterium that turns the walnut kernel black, and this disease does not cause much economic damage due to the dryness of the pollination areas and usually does not reach the stage of spraying.
Pointing out that walnut is a plant that does not need much spraying, Soleimani added: Another dangerous disease that damages trees, especially grafted ones, if the gardeners do not pay attention, is a type of fungus that causes ring disease, so that The bark of the tree is in the place where the root and the stem are separated, if the irrigation is not done properly and the crown gets wet, it will cause the fungi to enter the tree from there.
He said: gardeners should make sure that the trunk of the tree does not get wet, and the best method is drip irrigation, and if it is flood irrigation, they should make sure that the trunk of the tree does not get wet.
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