0852 GMT May 21, 2019
Iran exported about 170 tons of saffron worth more than $252 million during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2018-Nov. 21), indicating a 36-percent increase compared with the year before, the secretary of Iran’s Saffron National Council said.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Iran Daily, Farshid Manouchehri said, “Iran is the world’s biggest saffron producer and accounts for more than 95 percent of global production.”
“Iran sells saffron to 45 countries,” he said, adding that the country has no big rivals in producing saffron in the world.
Naming Spain and Afghanistan, Manouchehri said that “the production of saffron in these countries does not exceed more than 15 tons in a year.”
“Spain used to be a competitor for Iran in terms of production, but the global production of saffron is now in the hands of Iran.”
Pointed to Afghanistan’s efforts to export saffron, the official said, the neighboring country has the ccapacity to cultivate saffron, but the country does not have a big share of the world’s saffron production as of yet.
“However, we should not ignore it and need to double down our efforts to increase our share in the world’s markets.”
Close to 95 percent of Iranian saffron is grown in the two provinces of South Khorasan and Khorasan Razavi in northeastern Iran, Manouchehri said, adding that saffron production in the country saw an increase because of favorable climate conditions in the previous months.
The official said Iran’s saffron are usually exported in one-kilo, 500-gram and one-gram packages, noting that more efforts are needed in marketing to introduce Iranian saffron to world markets.
Despite the near-total dominance in output, Iranian saffron is repackaged, reexported and sold under foreign brands by other countries, depriving Iran of the value added.
“Countries like Italy, Greece and Spain, which are famous in saffron market, purchase Iran’s saffron in bulk and then rebrand and reexport it to other European countries.
“These countries are reaping a huge profit by rebranding, at least gaining 100 percent in value added,” he concluded.