EghtesadOnline: Close to 56.2 tons of saffron worth over $77.4 million were exported to 46 countries during the first three months of the current Iranian year (March 21-June 21), based on the latest figures released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
The top 10 export destinations for the expensive Iranian spice were the UAE ($22.81 million), Hong Kong ($16.55 million), Spain ($13.78 million), Afghanistan ($ 7.91 million), Vietnam ($6.62 million), Qatar ($2.1 million), Sweden ($1.15 million), Italy ($1.12 million), Taiwan ($815,972) and France ($798,325).
About 236 tons of saffron worth more than $325 million were exported from Iran during the last fiscal year (March 2017-18), indicating a 55% and 56% growth in weight and value respectively compared with the year before. This marks a 10-year record and growth in exports for two consecutive years.
The head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture's Agriculture, Water and Food Industries Commission said 20 countries were among Iran's main export destinations, Financial Tribune reported.
"Around 77% of Iran’s saffron exports headed to three countries, namely Hong Kong, the UAE and Spain, which shows that we have not been successful in diversifying our export destinations,” Kaveh Zargaran also told Financial Tribune.
Iran is the world’s biggest saffron producer with over 300 tons of saffron per year and accounts for more than 90% of global production.
Per capita consumption of saffron in the Middle Eastern country stands at 1 gram. Annually, 80 tons of saffron are consumed domestically.
However, despite the near-total dominance in output, Iran accounts for around 60% of global saffron trade as a major part of the exports is repackaged, reexported and sold under foreign brands, depriving Iran of the added value.
“About 34% of the saffron cultivated in Iran are labeled and sold by other countries,” Gholamreza Miri, the deputy head of the National Council of Saffron, has been quoted as saying. “The remaining 6% take place in Greece, Afghanistan, India and Spain.”