On a global scale, approximately 60 million tons of apples have been produced and exported which had the value of $ 11 billion.
In 2006-2007, the amount of apple fruit production in global scale reached to 44,119,244 metric tons which was considered as a high score. In the same year, some countries such as Iran, China and The US hold the highest records of apple production. China which was at the first place produced and exported about 36 percent of the global apple production (25,000,000 metric tons), the United States was at the second place with 7 percent production (4,460,544 metric tons), and Iran was at the third place.
Iran produces the most flavored and aromatic apple fruits which are exported to various countries. The apple fruit crop is important both for its nutritional value and exporting value. According to the estimations done in 2005, the area of apple orchards in Iran was 201000 hectares, and the whole apple fruit production was 2.66 Mt.
West Azerbaijan province is the leading apple producer in Iran with 277 apple trees in each hectare. The apple fruit varieties produced in this province are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious with long legged characteristics. This province has nearly 27.1% share of the whole apple orchard area and produces about 29.8% share of the whole apple fruit production in Iran. Urmia, one of the towns in West Azerbaijan province, holds half of apple fruit orchard area and produces 50% of apple crop in this province.
As stated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2006, Iran was the third country in the world, after China and the USA, producing the highest amount of apple crop.
The amount of apple fruit export from Iran to the neighboring countries is more than 1 million tons. In the first half of 2012, the amount of apple fruit production in Iran reached to more than 3,700,000 tons, one million tons of which was planned to be exported to the other countries.
Iran exports apple fruit to various countries including Iraq, Persian Gulf littoral states, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. Comparing to other countries that produce and export apple fruit, Iran stands at the third place. As reported by ISNA, Iran apple fruit export in 2011 was 396,000 tones, but in 2012 the amount of apple fruit export raised to 77%. In 2012, Iran exported apple fruit directly to 24 international markets, and the whole export amount was $328 million.
The tree top markets for Iran’s apple fruit were Iraq (18, 5000 tones), Turkmenistan (57,000 tones) and UAE (56.5, 000 tones). The other markets standing at the fourth to tenth place were: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Bahrain. In 2012, some other countries imported apple fruit from Iran, some of which are: Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Oman, Armenia, Syria, Liberia, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Cypress, Britain, Qatar and Malaysia.
As statistics reveals, the apple orchard area harvested in Iran in 1961 was 19,000 hectares, and in 2011 the harvest area reached to 133,395 hectares (source: FAOSTAT).
In 2011, a comparison was done between Iran and other apple producer countries. The result revealed that, regarding apple fruit production Iran was at the 8th place with 1.651.840 tons apple production. Considering apple orchard area harvested, Iran stood at the 7th place with 133.395 hectares harvest area. In view of apple fruit yield per hectare, Iran was at the 37th place with value of 123.831 hectogram per hectare.
By 2007, the aim of Iranian government policy was to reach self-efficacy in food production. This aim was attained, and Iran reached 96% self-efficacy in producing essential agricultural products. But there are still problems like wastage in processing, storing, marketing and consumption of agricultural products.