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Iranian Saffron Export and Its Challenges

Poor marketing, droughts, difficult lending sector and sanctions make it difficult to sell the Iranian saffron properly.

Crocus sativus plant has three to four saffron threads. The flower sprouts for just ten days a year, and the plants has to be picked during that time. Saffron filaments cost USD 700-1000 per kg in Iran, and up to five times more in foreign countries.

It is a fact that 90 percent of world’s saffron comes from Iran. From the soil in Khorasan province in Iran. Saffron is used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and foods like Spanish paella, Indian curry, Italian risotto, etc. The rest 10 percent of the saffron is cultivated in India, Afghanistan, Greece, Morocco, Azerbaijan and Spain.

Poor Saffron's Marketing

Most of the Iranian saffron is sold from Iran in bulk, and then packaged and branded somewhere else for retail markets in USA, Europe and Asia. It can be tricky too, for example Spain prefers powder saffron, UK likes threads, and Sweden wants tiny capsules. Sometimes it is not clear for the consumers that in reality it is Iranian saffron. Saffron from Iran.

Droughts at Saffron Farms

Climate is a powerful force behind the successful saffron cultivation. Devastating drought has hit Iran’s saffron regions for the last two decades. Saffron farmers have to start investing in irrigation systems. It is doable, but people need to be educated and they need funds to build the irrigation systems. Another option for the saffron farmers is to move towards north. Northern part of the country has wetter climate. With these actions it is possible to increase the saffron cultivation.

It Is Difficult for the Saffron Farmers to Get Loans

Troublesome banking sector adds to the difficulties in developing the saffron production in Iran. It is very difficult for the local farmers to get loans to develop their businesses.

Sanctions and Iran's Poor Economy

The biggest concern is sanctions and Iran’s struggling economy. This also hits local currency, the Iranian Rial. Costs to cultivate the saffron has increased more relative to saffron’s wholesale price.

source: (28.11.2018). “Iran’s saffron seeks global recognition”. France24. Retrieved from:

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