Iran sets up special task force for saffron export

Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) has set up a special task force on the trade of saffron to help boost its export. Iran Chamber of Commerce is a member of the task force.

1 September 2020
ID : 22546
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Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) has set up a special task force on the trade of saffron to help boost its export. Iran Chamber of Commerce is a member of the task force.

Saffron harvest on a farm in Torbat-e Heydarieh in northeast of Iran. Photo: Tasnim

Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) has set up a special task force on the trade of saffron to help boost its export.

According to Hamid Zadboum, head of Iran’s TPO, the organization has implemented plans over the past two decades in order to support saffron exporters through offering different incentives. The new task force has been formed to coordinate between the government bodies and the private sector, he said.

The saffron special task force consists of representatives from Agriculture Ministry, Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI), Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Health Ministry, Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI), Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), Iran Chamber of Cooperatives (ICC), National Saffron Council, and the Organization for Protection of Consumers and Producers (OPCP). 

The price of the Iranian saffron has stumbled to historical lows as the coronavirus pandemic hits major customers in Europe. 

Prices are now plummeting to $400-500 per kilogram of the spice, levels that had never been seen since the 1980s and 1990s, said Ali Hosseini, a member of Iran’s National Saffron Association.

The decline in Iran’s saffron price happens after international saffron prices saw a major boom over the past years and reached all-time highs of $1,100 per kilogram. 

Saffron, Iranian gold

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.

Iran produces over 90% of the world’s saffron, with the northeastern Khorasan province being the capital of the spice. However, the country’s share of the $8.2 billion business is only $286 million. 

Much of the crop produced by villagers are bought at knockdown prices by local arbiters who themselves sell it to foreign buyers in large stocks. This means the bulk of the added-value 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. 

 

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