The United States dominates the global production of almonds, followed by traditional almond growers Spain and Italy. California, the largest almond producer in the world, is the only place in North America that grows almond for commercial purposes. The harvest is usually enough to feed the nation and export to other countries. Other countries mostly produce almond for home use. Apart from California, the Middle East, and European countries also produce the fruit. Germany is the biggest importer of almonds followed by Japan and the Netherlands.
The United States
The US is the dominant producer of almond in the world producing 898,167 metric tons annually. California is the primary producing region. About 70% of the almonds are exported in shelled form and the rest processed or sold unshelled. Cultivation of almonds in California is in a mild climate, fertile soils, and abundant sunshine, with state of the art equipment and techniques during growth, harvesting, processing, and packaging. When production reduces in California, the effect impacts on the global market and the price of almonds increase. Such case happened in 2015, resulting in an increased demand of almonds worldwide. The US cultivates the sweet variety of almonds for food purposes either locally or internationally.
Spain produces approximately 229,959 metric tons annually and has a broad range of commercial cultivators. Cultivation takes place in region of Valencia, Catalonia, Andalusia, Murcia, and Aragon. The Marcona and Desmayo Largueta are the major varieties cultivated and accounts for almost 40% of the country production output. The modern orchards grow Ferragnes Ferraduel and Cristomorto varieties. The nut is mostly consumed in its raw form, toasted to create a savory snack, as a flavor element in “ajo blancho” the Spanish soup, and turron.
In Italy, the production of bitter almonds from apricots facilitates the preparation of Amaretti, a typical dessert in the country. A few bitter almonds can also be used to add a bitter flavor in cookies. The majority of homes also use almonds in preparing torrone and an almond paste called the pasta di mandorle. The country produces approximately 100,664 metric tons yearly in the green hilly city of Sicily, and in most Southern cities.
Iran annual production of almonds is about 99,551 metric tons. Cultivation takes place in the North West of Iran and Tabriz region, and the Amygdalus communis variety of the almond is native to the country. The country cultivates both the sweet variety and bittersweet varieties. The trees are obtained from seeds, with India as the primary export market. The produced green almonds are dipped in sea salt and sold as snacks in the streets. Sweet almonds are used to prepare, harire badan, a baby food, and as a flavor in foods and desserts. The nuts provide a delicacy in New Year events in Iran.
Morocco produces 72,360 metric tons of sweet almonds annually. The nut cultivation is in many zones with ideal Mediterranean conditions for growth. The growing of Seedling trees and grafted trees are common. 65% of the almond produced is by small scale farming. The yields are lower compared to the smaller large scale semi-intensive farming. The nut is used to make an almond paste the primary ingredient in pastry fillings and many deserts. Other uses of the fruit include preparation of Sellou a sweet snack with a long shelf life, to make a spread known as amlou or almond beverages.
Cultivation of Almonds in Turkey takes place in the areas of Marmara, Mersin, the Mediterranean, and Aegean. The country production is small, 49,048 metric tons annually. The cultivated varieties include nonpareil, Teksas, Ferragnes, and Ferrastar. The climate variations enable the country to cultivate many varieties without compromising quality. The primary use of the nut is in the chocolate, confectionery, and baking industries to improve on flavor.
The country is the biggest almond producer in the Southern Hemisphere with about 46,381 metric tons annually. Almond production is in the region around the Murray River like Victoria, News South Wales, and South Australia. The varieties cultivated include Nonpareil, Chellaston, Mission, and Firtz. In the country, they are majorly used in their raw form, to make almond essences, and for imroving flavors in food.
With about 45,150 tons almond production per year, the cultivation in Greece is common around Magnesia, Almyros. The country cultivates Ferragnes and Teksas almonds which are highly marketable for their quality and taste. Almonds are used in Greece to make desserts, called amygdalota, as wedding sweets, and utilized in the preparation of Soumanda, a soft drink.
Almonds are not real nuts but rather drupes and their production around the world is competitive with respect to quality and quantity. Even with the US producing much of the almonds in the world market, Mediterranean countries also produce substantial amounts. However, in the US, the cultivation is facilitated by technology and large scale farming compared to countries like Morocco and Italy. The fruit is highly valued for the nutrition benefits it has and the ready market across the countries, especially in non-almond producing countries.
Top Almond Producing Countries
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