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Iran's just mad about saffron...and is looking to make it a major earner

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By Robert Hackwill
Iran's just mad about saffron...and is looking to make it a major earner

It is one of the world’s most precious products, worth more than its weight in gold. Saffron, prized at dinner tables around the world, is a spice only found in minute quantities in each saffron crocus. Between 110,000 to 170,000 saffron flowers are needed to make a kilo of the rare flavouring and colouring agent.

Iran has one of the world’s most prized crops, and could produce 300 tons this year, some 90% of the world total. Spain and Kashmir are also producers.

“We were able to make a healthy and organic product, but unfortunately it is exported by dealers. They export it to other countries under their own brand,” says farmer Rasoul Bolbol.

The saffron market bustles with activity, but Iran could make so much more from this industry if it had its own ways of adding value via refining and processing. The money to attract investors is certainly there. Profits could more than cover the investments needed
to catch up with the competition.

“Now that sanctions are gone, we should be able to have accurate planning to export packed saffron with our own brand directly from here to destination countries,” said the Chairman of Torbat-e-Heydarieh Dried Nuts and Saffron Guild, Hadi Movahedan.

Iran has the quality and quantity needed to make an impact on this global market, which in ancient times it dominated along with the Mughal empire, and saffron could end up as another profitable niche commodity for Iran to add to pistachios and carpets as it seeks to diversify and strengthen its post-sanctions economy. It has the power to transform many families’ lives.

“Iran’s Red Gold, saffron, is world-known, yet it has not been successful at winning its deserved share on the international market for Iranian brand names. However, the producers in Iran hope that they can introduce their brands to the world once the economic sanctions are lifted,” says euronews’ Javad Montazeri,