Why dropping the Iran sanctions could become a nightmare for California's pistachio farmers

Get ready for a shakeup in the pistachio market.

If the US drops its sanctions against Iran, global markets will be flooded with more than just oil. The country’s second-largest export is pistachios.

That could be bad for American farmers. According to Bloomberg:

The biggest losers may be Californian farmers who have doubled pistachio acreage over the past ten years despite drought conditions. Pistachio production in California started in earnest in 1979 and output hit 513 million pounds last year, more than triple the harvest in 2004, according to the U.S. Administrative Committee for Pistachios.

On the one hand, this could be good for consumers. Pistachio prices have gone through the roof in recent years (up 40% in five years, according to Bloomberg). On the other hand, a representative for California’s pistachio industry told Bloomberg he wasn’t worried because, as Bloomberg puts it, “Iran would struggle to sell into Europe and the U.S. because of high levels of contamination from aflatoxin, a toxic chemical caused by fungus.”

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