Due to suitable geographical and climatic condition, agriculture has an important place in the economy of Iran. Pistachio orchards in central northern and south eastern regions, and also fertile cumin and saffron fields in the vast khorasan province area, as well as vineyards and other fruits of high variety and quality have been the reason that the production of fruits and dried fruits especially pistachio play an important role in Iran's domestic and foreign markets.
The pistachio trade in Iran goes back to more than 250 years. The production and export of pistachio underwent steady growth so that its production of 17000 tons in 1961 reached more than 207000 tons in 2003 worth 803 million dollars. The pistachio industry ranking first in the non oil exports of this country creates employment for more than two million citizens and is considered the most important source of income for farmers and the country.
Today, Iran is known as the main exporter of dried fruits especially pistachio, saffron, raisins and cumin seeds. The products of this country are being exported to many Arab and European countries. Without doubt, the requirements to maintain and development of pistachio industry of Iran consist of employing modern cultivation and production techniques. In addition, the employment of modern mechanized tools in the production of pistachio plays an important role. Concentrated programming and continuous study is required to obtain optimal and standard methods in the process of production, hygiene and trade (global trade).
Expansion of Iran's pistachio export will not be possible without adopting a clear long-term strategy, attention to expertise and scientific principals regarding marketing, and giving importance to sanitation and the hygiene of plants.
The Raafati Group with more than 30 years experience in the production and packing of export pistachio and other dried fruits acquired considerable position among producers and exporters. Raafati Group is an economic institution with activities in the field of distribution and export of pistachio, pistachio nuts, almonds, raisins, cumin seeds, and other dried fruits.
The products of Raafati Group which are marketed with the trade mark RACO is a familiar and reliable name to many customers and commercial institutions in Arab countries (like Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc.) and some European countries. These products are offered to the market with high quality, reasonable and competitive prices, and in accordance with European standards.
Punctual supply of goods, recognizance of contracts, sincerity, guaranteeing mutual interest, and customer oriented strategy has been the main factors of success and attaining an acceptable position among competitors.
In the beginning of 1990 an industrial and production unit (Thofeh Shargh) as a sub unit of Raafati Group has been established in the industrial town of Toos-Mashhad-Faz-Yek on a site with more than 10000 square meter including storage halls, processing and packing units, etc. in a totally hygienic environment equipped with modern machinery where are all the operations all conducted in a mechanized process. The various activities of this site are as follows:
1. The gathering of pistachios include: separation of its skin, washing and drying.
2. Separating hollow pistachios from natural opened pistachio.
3. Sorting and separating closed pistachios from half- cracked ones.
4. Separation of defective pistachios.
5. Categorization and Cracking closed pistachios and separating the kernel from their shell.
6. Disinfecting, packing and storage in proper environment (cold-room).
Understanding the necessity of automation this unit has taken important measures in respect to production and processing of pistachios.
All the operations are conducted in a hygienic environment with the employment of machineries and modern equipment.
Other activities of this unit include the processing of unripe pistachios which due to their green color are used in the chocolate and confectionary industry. In view of the difficult procedure of harvest, processing and splitting whole pistachios, this process is performed in a single atomized process (line).
This unit is able to process yearly more than 1000 tons of pistachio in a fully automated and hygienic process.
With the aim of expanding the pistachio industry and having an active presence in the supply of dried fruits especially pistachio & pistachio kernel to the world market, Raafati Group has concentrated its business strategy on:
1. Offering compatible products of high quality.
2. Securing the confidence and satisfaction of its customers.
3. Employing superior technology for processing pistachio and other dried fruits.
4. New methods in packing and presentation of products.
Raafati Group exerted much effort in order to have a more active role in the field of pistachio processing.
At the same time Raafati Group has vast activities in the field of packing and export of saffron, cumin seeds, etc.
Other activities include the refining and packing of raisins for export.