Applying the Delphi and fuzzy DEMATEL methods for identification and prioritization of the variables affecting Iranian citrus exports to Russia

Soft comput. 2022;26(18):9543-9556. doi: 10.1007/s00500-022-06738-0. Epub 2022 Jan 13.


Foreign trade is one of the important components in economic development and a source of foreign exchange earnings. In Iran, the government desires to develop foreign trade with a focus on non-oil exports. One of the substantial non-oil products is agricultural products. Iran is one of the top ten countries in the world in terms of producing agricultural products, especially citrus, but it does not have suitable conditions in terms of exports. Mazandaran province is a considerable source of citrus production in Iran, and the main produced citrus in the province is exported to Russia. Worth bearing in mind that although the production rate of citrus in the province is very well, the amount of export is not very appropriate. Therefore, the government struggles to adopt an appropriate approach to improve the conditions and taking the right approach is not possible without identifying the variables affecting exports. In this regard, in this study, first, the variables affecting citrus exports regarding the case are determined using literature review and the most related those to the case study are selected using the Delphi method. Then, the identified variables are ranked using the fuzzy DEMATEL method. Focusing on the results, it can be observed that "exchange rate fluctuation" and "marketing" have the most and the least impact on the development of citrus exports from the province to Russia, respectively. Moreover, to better analyze the gained results, the determined variables are divided into two main categories based on stages of trade, and each category's variables are discussed in detail.

Keywords: Citrus exports; Delphi method; Foreign trade; Fuzzy DEMATEL.