Iran imported 481,000 tonnes of fruit, at a value of US$354m, in the year to 20 March 2013, according to Iranian customs administration director Abbas Memarnejad, the Tehran Times has reported.
These figures represent a year-on-year fall of 40 per cent in volume terms and of 36 per cent in value, the official revealed.
For the year to 19 March 2012, fruit imports reached 769,000 tonnes, according to Iranian agriculture jihad minister Sadeq Khalilian, compared with 1.08m tonnes the previous year.
A major reason for these decreases is the government's decision sometimes to ban imports of fresh produce into the country. With the exception of bananas, all fruit and vegetable imports were blocked from entering the country in the second half of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.
As for domestic production, Iran currently ranks as the Middle East's number one fruit producer and the ninth in the world, the ministry said, with an annual volume of 20m tonnes. The country's fruit is exported to 100 countries, bringing in over US$2.87bn, the Tehran Times reported.