As for ending stocks, the average estimate for 2018/19 is 180 million pounds. For the next few years, ending stocks will grow but should maintain manageable inventory levels under baseline conditions. Based on the average supply-and-demand expectations, average returns to the grower would range from $2.05/lb to $2.38/lb between the 2019/20 and 2024/25 marketing seasons.
The price outlook for 2019/20 remains positive, as reduced Iranian shipments would propel demand for U.S. product in export markets. As we look further out, prices show a slight downward trend, with some variation reflecting the alternating on and off years. For example, 2020/21 should be an “on” year, and there’s a 50 percent chance of having farm prices between $1.73/lb and $2.43/lb (see Figure 4). Depending on individual grower yields, there is a high likelihood that average blended prices will remain at profitable levels for most growers in California over the projection period.
Pistachio bearing acreage grew more than twofold over the last decade, making pistachios California’s fastest-growing tree nut in terms of acreage. From 2024, bearing area will sit at about 370,000 acres—roughly a 40 percent increase (see Figure 1). Industry estimates show that average pistachio net returns per acre exceed those obtained in competing nuts, creating incentives for new plantings. A relevant proportion of pistachio’s planted acreage is located in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, a water-challenged area. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) will limit future growth. For this reason, estimates indicate that non-bearing acres will remain stagnant for a few years and then decline by the end of the projection period. Yet bearing acres will be at record-breaking levels every year for the next several years.
After reaching a record crop in 2018, pistachio production in California is set to continue to grow. Rabo AgriFinance’s market outlook, based on its pistachio supply-and-demand analytical tool, predicts that the 2019 crop will be the third-largest on record, while the 2020 crop should break the one-billion pound barrier. Moreover, pistachio production should reach new record levels in 2022 and 2024, as those are expected to be “on” years. Average yields will likely increase over the projected period as more trees reach maturity and full production. The analysis takes yield variability into consideration and assumes there will be no interruptions to the alternate bearing nature of yields.
|Amount per serving
|% Daily Value*
|Total Fat 13g
|Total Carbohydrate 8g
|Includes Added Sugars0g
Key features and Insights
The U.S. expects a record harvest of pistachios in 2021. The USDA forecasts that production will grow from 352K to 454K tonnes of in-shell nuts, which is equivalent to 230K tonnes of shelled produce. According to the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (ACP), the average yield per acre in 2020 gained by 30% y-o-y, bearing acreage increased by 21.6K acres. A large harvest should keep prices stable on the domestic market. Exports from the U.S. are expected to rise by 40% in 2021. The EU and China are expected to be the primary markets for American pistachios, despite the cloudy trade relations with the latter. With a global market share of 33%, China will remain the largest importer of pistachios.
The U.S. will continue to hold its position as the global leader in pistachio production with a slight lead over Iran, the second-largest producer. Unlike in the U.S., Iran forecasts a decline in yield in 2021, but the country will retain its level of exports due to supplies from last year’s reserves. As Iran depletes its reserves, the U.S. is expected to strengthen its position in the global export market in 2022 and seal its status as the leading global provider.
The increase in demand for pistachios will be mainly driven by the growth in the global population. During the pandemic, retail sales of pistachios have been declining amidst a fall in real income as people rejected expensive and non-essential food. This larger trend is the primary factor hindering growth in the market. As quarantine measures are being gradually lifted, the HoReCa segment will begin to recover, boosting demand in the B2B sector and expanding the pistachio market.
Prices of Pistachio