Dates: extensive monsoon damage
Mundus agri. While farmers completed harvesting in Iran’s Bushehr province in October, the current production estimates for dates show that unexpected monsoon rainfalls caused extensive damage. This is, however, not the only problem the market is confronted with.
Monsoon wreaks havoc
While the Indian monsoon usually brings some rain to Iran, the impact was devastating this year. Rare summer rains and floods wreaked havoc in 19 of Iran’s 31 provinces and killed at least 56 people, as official reports state. Although the monsoon was expected to have a stronger impact than usual, the force with which the weather event struck shocked meteorologists, especially in Pakistan, where floods and landslides left nearly 1,700 people dead and have affected millions. Several factors, including air temperatures, drought, and lack of foresight, contributed to the knock-on effect of the monsoon in Iran this year, which is still not fully understood.
The damage on Bushehr’s date production was extensive as the monsoon struck in August when the groves were full of clusters. While initial production estimates ranged at 170,000 mt, the figure has now been cut to 145,000 mt. Bushehr province is one of the date production centres of Iran and provides direct employment for 18,000 people. Production has, however, been confronted with several problems for years, including high costs for farmers, a lack of infrastructure, and inappropriate mechanisms for grading and buying dates. Many fruits fall from the palm trees and have a sour taste. Successive droughts and plant senescence are also reducing the quality.