0335 GMT January 19, 2019
Hossein Shirzad further said that Iran ranks first in the world in the production of saffron accounting for 88 percent of the global output while its share of exports stood at 96 percent in the year to March 20.
Speaking at a symposium on 'Targeted Intervention Strategy in Saffron Market', he maintained, "Saffron should be priced logically within the framework of rules and regulations in order to get lion's share of the target markets."
Central Organization for Rural Cooperatives of Iran, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, purchased approximately 67 tons of saffron of various grades.
According to statistics, per capita consumption of saffron in Iran stands at one gram per annum, Shirzad said.
Central Organization for Rural Cooperatives of Iran was set up in 1969 as public joint stock company with the aim of developing rural and agricultural and rural sectors.
In October, Shirzad said that Iran's southwestern province of Khuzestan accounted for almost 41 percent of the country's annual date exports in the past 10 years.
He added that the output witnessed a decline last year due to a number of reasons including drought.
More than 4,247 tons of date valued at more than $2.6 million have so far been bought from farmers this year, Shirzad said.
The official added that Iran's date production was affected in recent years due to traditional methods of agriculture, water shortage, water and soil salinity, lack of marketing strategies as well as the rise of nitrate levels in water and soil.
Around 1.2 million tons of dates were produced in Iran in the year to March 20, of which more than 181,000 tons were exported, Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture reported citing data from Statistical Center of Iran and Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
The top three destinations of Iran's date exports were Pakistan, India and Kazakhstan with 44,000 tons, 39,000 tons and 28,000 tons of purchases respectively.
Iran's date cultivation took place on 170,000 hectares of palm-groves last year with the provinces of Kerman and Sistan-Baluchestan both in the southeast and Khuzestan in the southwest being the biggest producers.