Iran holds the title of the largest producer of saffron in the world, but has no place in the export market of this product and does not benefit from the final added value. The reason for this depends on several factors:
- The incorrect policies of the Iranian government have always been one of the obstacles to exporting saffron directly from Iran.
- Another of these factors is the interest of Iranian businessmen in quick and short-term profits due to economic instability in Iran which makes them interested in selling bulk.
- Lack of up-to-date knowledge of marketing and export of Iranian traders, which are often traditional, It has worsen the bad situation of saffron industry.
- Another issue is the layers of the saffron industry, which strongly protects the profits of its brokers.
All these factors have made some countries able to have a larger share of the saffron export market. In fact, these countries have created a market for themselves by importing Iranian saffron and re-exporting it. One of the most famous of these countries is Spain. It imports more than 90 tons of saffron from Iran and re-exports it to other countries with packaging. For example, 90% of the US market is held by Spain (approximately 35 tons of saffron). In the table below you can see a list of the ten countries with the most shares.
Direct export of saffron from Iran to China has no economic value due to high tariffs. So the destination changes to Hong Kong. According to the latest statistics of 2019, Hong Kong has imported more than 170 tons of saffron from Iran, all of which goes to China.
The United Arab Emirates is one of the main brokers of Iranian saffron. There are no exact statistics on the volume of saffron exported to the UAE in 2019, but according to the opinions of industry leaders, more than 20 tons of Iranian saffron was exported to the UAE last year.
The import of saffron from Iran to Afghanistan is officially banned, We did not mention it in table. But Every year, about 40 tons of saffron are smuggled from Iran to Afghanistan which go to India and Saudi Arabia.
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