Deputy minister of Ornamental Plants and Floral Affairs of Ministry of Agriculture Jihad noted that 94 percent of the world’s saffron is produced in Iran and that last year, 159 tonnes of saffron was exported.
The deputy minister of Ornamental and Medicinal Plants and Floral Affairs of Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, Mitra Majdzadeh, in an interview with the economic reporter of Fars News Agency, referring to the onset of harvest season of saffron in some of the provinces that produce it, said, “Last year, approximately 280 tonnes of saffron was produced in the country. However, due to the fact that the harvest of saffron is still in progress in some of the provinces, there can not be an exact estimation of that in the current year.”
She added, “In 2014, 88,000 of hectares of lands were devoted to cultivation of saffron,78 percent of which was for Khorasan Razavi, 17 percent was for South Khorasan, and the rest for Kerman, Yazd and Fars provinces.”
Referring to the exploiters of saffron in Khorasan Razavi being 130,000 people, Majdzadeh said, “The harvest has concluded in some of the provinces, however, due to the weather conditions in some of the provinces the harvest will continue up to the end of November.”
Noting that 94 percent of the world’s saffron being produced in our country, this deputy minister of Plants and Floral Affairs stated, “About 60 percent of the saffron produced in Iran is annually exported.”
She criticized the way saffron is exported, i.e in bulk, and added, “The saffron produced in Iran, is packaged elsewhere.”
“According to the data taken from the website of the Saffron Exporters Union and the information from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs, last year, 159 tonnes of saffron with the value of 277 million dollars was exported to different countries such as UAE, China, Hong Kong and Italy.” Majdzadeh said.
She stressed that the export of saffron bulbs is prohibited, and that the necessary instructions have been given to the Ministry of Commerce, the Customs and the police in this regard. Also, since the saffron bulb is considered as germ plasm of our country, the export of that is banned, too.
The deputy minister of Ornamental and Medicinal Plants and Floral Affairs went on to say, “Unfortunately, we cannot make sure that there is no illegal export of saffron bulbs, and a lot of other products may also be exported illegitimately. This is not exclusive to the saffron bulbs.”
Majdzadeh added, “There are even some instructions for the amount of healthy saffron bulbs being transferred from one province to another.”
In response to whether or not the ministry has any plans to increase the production of saffron, she said, “In some gardens, the “idealistic plan” to increase the production of saffron is being implemented.”
The deputy minister of Ornamental and Medicinal Plants and and Floral Affairs said,”By collaborating with Keshavarzi bank and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in these gardens, we are working on increasing the efficiency of water and soil, using bigger and standard bulbs and the suitable plant nutrients, applying modern irrigation techniques and accurate methods of cultivation, growth and harvest. All these to increase the production of saffron, and we have reached promising results, too.”
“The average production of saffron in these farms is 3.2 kilogram per hectare. However, in some farms where there has been agricultural crop management according to the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad instructions, also there has been an application of the modern irrigation methods as well as mechanization, we can see a far better outcome per hectare.” She said.
She announced the complete number of saffron exploiters in Iran as being 186,000 people and added, “Among these exploiters, there have even been people who produced 40 kilos of saffron per hectare.”
The deputy minister of Ornamental and Medicinal Plants and Floral Affairs stated that saffron is a national product and that we must maintain our first place in the world for its production and export . “The exporters of saffron must participate in different international exhibitions to prepare better grounds for the export of this product with the Iranian trademark.” She added.