A member of Iran’s Saffron Council said that exports of the food additive declined to just over 40 tons between April and June this year, down 15 percent compared to the similar period in 2018 when over 50 tons of the Iranian saffron was sold in markets across Europe and Asia.
Ali Hosseini told ILNA that the declining in saffron exports would continue for the next two or three months as European customers have either decreased purchases due to the holiday seasons or prefer to wait for new harvests coming from Iran.
He said each kilogram of the Iranian saffron is priced between €700 and €1,000 in the European markets but the price prescribed by the Iranian government is well below – between €450 and €600.
Exporters and farmers have been lamenting that underpricing has caused a surge in the smuggling of saffron to neighboring Afghanistan, where the Iranian product in repackaged and exported to countries like India.
Hosseini said in an interview two weeks ago that India’s low tariffs on saffron imported from Afghanistan, compared to higher duties levied on Iran's saffron, were encouraging more and more people to transfer the spice in large quantities from Mashhad to Afghanistan.
Authorities believe the illegal businesses have cost Iran saffron exports dearly as exporters have decreased their shipment to the United Arab Emirates, a top buyer of the Iranian saffron, because of declining inventories.