0242 GMT January 17, 2019
Iran is the top exporter of rose water in the world, said the head of Rose Water and Herbal Essences Union in Kashan, central Iran.
Reza Navvabi told Iran Daily that Iran exports rose water to 30 countries, mainly to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
The UAE imports rose water in bulk, then repackages and exports the product to ensure a more efficient and lucrative trade, he added.
Navvabi noted that despite efforts to introduce the product to the world, rose water is not in high demand since many nations are unaware of its use — unlike rose essence which is well-known and widely consumed in perfume industries of Bulgaria and Turkey.
He added that China began importing rose water from Iran two years ago, along with Korea that uses the comforting and refreshing effect of the product in saunas, and Germany which has recently imported it to meet food industries' demand.
Iran produced 30,000 tons of rose water in Kashan in the year to March 20, 2018 and the figure is expected to reach 33,000 tons this year, he noted.
Navvabi further said the country exported 4,300 tons of rose water, and 35,000 tons of herbal essence in the one-year period; adding that overseas sales of the latter increased by 42,000 tons during the last six months.
Currently 75 percent of rose water is produced in 730 traditional workshops and 68 factories of Kashan, and the neighboring cities of Qamsar, Neyasar and Bazrak, he added.
Primarily used either in confectionary and ice-cream industries or as a natural medicine, rose water is also common during funerals and religious ceremonies.
In addition, 80 types of herbal essences are produced in Kashan. They are used to cure many kinds of ailments such as diabetics, kidney disorders, heart disease, obesity and depression, Navvabi concluded.