Saffron is currently being cultivated more or less intensely in Iran, India (Kashmir valley), Greece, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Pakistan, China, Japan, Afghanistan and recently in Australia. By the way, Iran is the world’s most important producer.
In an interview with Tehran-based English newspaper, Iran Daily, Gholamreza Miri added Iran produced saffron valued at $373.33 million in the year to March 2018. He noted that according to figures released by Iran’s Agricultural Jihad Ministry, Iran produced 336 tons of saffron in the year to March 2018. That 20% percent of it is used for internal usage and 80% , near 270 tons, for export.
There is a high correlation between the volume of Iranian saffron exports and the overall increase in saffron exports in the world. Although currency fluctuations in recent years have affected the dollar value of overall exports, the Islamic Republic of Iran remains the global leader in terms of both volume and exported value of saffron. Most Iranian saffron is exported in bulk and then packaged, marketed and distributed through established trade networks of re-exporters. Few of the 120 Iranian saffron processing and packaging enterprises are exporters, as most limit their focus to supplying the domestic market. The majority of Iranian exporting companies use very basic packaging, which requires repackaging afterwards by re-exporters according to the final export destination.
Although the Islamic Republic of Iran produces more than 90 % of the world’s saffron, it only accounts for 40 % of global exports. This is due to the influence of prestigious re-exporters such as Spain, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, India, UAE, France and Italy, which add value to Iranian bulk saffron and then resell the saffron at a higher price. Countries such as Spain, Italy and France all produce saffron; however, their domestic production is marginal compared with the quantities that they export.
In Iran, the world’s leading producer, the eastwhile and northeasterly Khorasan Province, which in 2004 was divided in three, grows 80 percent of Iranian saffron: the hinterlands of Birjand, Ghayen, Ferdows in South Khorasan Province (near 51 Tons) , along with areas abutting Gonabad and Torbat-e Heydarieh in Razavi Khorasan Province (near 257 Tons) and North Khorasan Province (near 8 tons), are its key cropping areas.