Iran and Spain are among the countries in which saffron production and consumption culture has long existed and are among the first and oldest saffron exporting countries in the world. In the following, the countries producing saffron will be examined.
According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Iran has a share of 92-95% of the world’s total saffron production. Of course, most of its production is not registered globally like domestic consumption, which is not in the global statistics. The cities of Birjand, Ghaen, Ferdows in South Khorasan Province, Gonabad and Torbat Heydariyeh in Khorasan Razavi and the provinces of North Khorasan, Isfahan, Kerman, Fars and Yazd enjoy a privileged status for saffron production and produce a quality product. In recent years, the southern and western cities of the country have also started cultivating saffron and have been able to produce quality saffron using modern agricultural methods and greenhouse cultivation together with using modified onions.
As the largest producer and exporter of saffron, Iran produces $ 587 million annually, about 50% of which is sold to Spain. Spanish saffron, like Iranian saffron, is of high quality, but the volume of Spanish saffron production is not significant compared to its imports.
After Spain, Hong Kong is in second place with $ 96 million. The UAE is the third largest importer of Iranian saffron with $ 89 million. In 2017, Iran exported about 400 tons of saffron to 60 countries. The leading countries after Spain, Hong Kong and UAE are Afghanistan, China, Italy, Qatar, Germany, France, Kuwait, Georgia, Taiwan, Netherlands, Bahrain, Oman, Australia, Japan, UK, Morocco, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Singapore, India, Hungary, Turkey, Malaysia, Iraq, Pakistan, South Africa, Poland, Philippines, Greece and Austria. In the world ranking after Iran, Spain is the largest producer of saffron in the world.
Universities in Spain have conducted extensive research on saffron and are considering suitable conditions for growing saffron and informing farmers. The climate of the regions where saffron is grown in Spain is similar to the thriving areas of saffron cultivation in Iran, such as Ghaenat. The annual production of Spanish saffron is 25 tons per year. However, it is one of the main exporters of saffron in the world. Spain accounts for 20.7% of world exports with a volume of $ 57.08 million. The United States, Saudi Arabia and Italy are the three countries that are among the first export destinations of Spanish saffron. Greece is the main producer of European saffron, while Spain is the main exporter of European saffron. Greece ranks fifth in global saffron exports in which exports saffron to France, Poland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Most saffron is imported to this country from countries such as Italy, Iran, Spain and France.