Iran’s saf­fron ex­ports hit 10-year high

Iran Daily - - Domestic Economy -

Iran’s saf­fron ex­ports hit a 10-year high last year, with the high­lyprized spice gen­er­at­ing more than $325 mil­lion in hard cur­rency rev­enues.

Ex­ports of 236 tons of the most ex­pen­sive spice in the world known as red gold showed Iran is far from giv­ing up its dom­i­nant po­si­tion as a pro­ducer which usu­ally ac­counts for about 90 per­cent of world saf­fron out­put, Press TV re­ported.

Sales dur­ing the year to March 20 rose 55 per­cent against the pre­vi­ous year, said the head of Agri­cul­ture, Wa­ter and Food In­dus­tries Com­mis­sion with Tehran Cham­ber of Com­merce, In­dus­tries, Mines and Agri­cul­ture Kaveh Zar­garan.

Iran ex­ports saf­fron to some 20 coun­tries but about 77 per­cent of the ship­ments go to Hong Kong, Spain and the United Arab Emirates “which shows we have not been suc­cess­ful in gain­ing a bet­ter share of the global mar­ket”, he said.

Ex­perts have long said Iran has to im­prove mar­ket­ing and find new cus­tomers if it wants to se­cure a big­ger share of prof­its from saf­fron sales.

Bulk pro­duc­tion meth­ods in Iran fetch less than what is paid in coun­tries such as Spain which re­ex­port the Ira­nian pro­duce.

Saf­fron from Spain re­port­edly sells for €1,400 ($1,861) per kilo­gram in Europe, but Ira­nian va­ri­eties com­mand a quar­ter or less of that price.

“Coun­tries like Spain, while be­ing a ma­jor im­porter of saf­fron from our coun­try, are among the largest ex­porters of this prod­uct in the world,” Zar­garan said.

“Our ne­glect of the mar­ket needs has caused us to lose the pack­aged saf­fron mar­ket to coun­tries like Spain, and de­spite our first rank in saf­fron pro­duc­tion and ex­port, bulk ex­ports bring in lower value added,” he said.

Iran’s po­si­tion as the lead sup­plier of the spice is also be­ing chal­lenged by coun­ter­feit busi­ness un­der which gen­uine saf­fron from the coun­try is adul­ter­ated and resold to the high-end global mar­ket, with the UAE and Spain be­ing the prime sus­pects.

Saf­fron cul­ti­va­tion and har­vest is a painstak­ing process which re­quires 200,000 strands of crim­son cro­cus blooms to be gin­gerly picked in the morn­ing to make one kilo for sale.

Much of the crop pro­duced by vil­lagers are bought at knock­down prices by lo­cal deal­ers who them­selves sell it to for­eign buy­ers in large stocks. This means the bulk of the value-added ac­crues to for­eign in­ter­me­di­aries, while the gen­uine pro­duce barely reaches the end con­sumer.

Saf­fron cul­ti­va­tion has a his­tory of more than 3,000 years in Iran, where the red­dish, aro­matic sub­stance is used to fla­vor food and pas­tries, with fur­ther ap­pli­ca­tion in medicine and cos­met­ics.

Ira­nian re­searchers have pro­duced saf­fron ex­tract for sup­press­ing cancer, low­er­ing blood pres­sure and cur­ing de­pres­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.