Citrus production has a great importance and position in Iran. The growth and sustainability of the agriculture sector is impossible without appropriate and effective risk identification and management. In this study, the main risks of citrus gardens were identified based on the Delphi method through questionnaires completed by 16 experts. Then, using the TOPSIS technique, the risks involved in the horticultural industry of Mazandaran Province were prioritized during 2010-2016 and the most important risk of Mazandaran gardens was selected based on the Shannon unweighted entropy matrix. The results showed that the most important horticultural risks were related to the risks of pests and diseases, price, damage, and production, respectively. In addition, the lowest risks were related to technical, labor and credit risks, respectively. Therefore, the results indicated the significant influence of the risks of pests and diseases, price and loss in horticulture. Among the risks of pests and diseases, mealy bugs, red mites and aphids with 76, 73 and 70 percent, respectively, were of the highest risk and risks arising from financing, purchasing the product and the damage caused by drip irrigation and emitters were of the lowest risk. The risk exposure represented that risk management should be considered in these fields. In this regard, it is essential to make major reforms in risk management areas involved in orchards. Thus, the planners and policymakers must consider this issue.
The study sought to identify the risks by the relevant experts based on the Delphi approach and rank them using the TOPSIS technique in order to identify main risks of citrus gardens and their impacts on orange crop yield.
The criteria identified in this study included the probability of risk, risk exposure, closeness of occurrence, and risk manageability.
Applying TOPSIS for risk assessment also showed that this method could be used to identify and prioritize orange risks. Therefore, it is suggested to use this method in a wider range of different products in the country.
The horticulturists should pay special attention to the orange risks. Risk management strategies are required for risks with higher priorities in order to reduce the horticulturists' losses. This issue must also be considered by officials and planners at a macro level.