According to an article in Sunday edition of Economic Abrar daily, Iran ranks first by producing annually 150-180 tons of saffron.
It added that Greece, Morocco, Kashmir, Spain and Italy stand first to sixth by exporting 5.7 tons, 2.3 tons, 2.3 tons, one ton and 0.1 ton per year respectively.
The latest statistical report released by the Flower and Decorative Plants Department of Agriculture Jihad Ministry said that 54 hectares of farmland is allocated to growing saffron and 185 tons of saffron have been harvested.
"Iran exports saffron to the Arab and European states including Spain, France and Italy.
"The saffron produced in Iran is known to be of the highest quality due to its climatic diversity, which mainly accounts for the growing rate of the product within the past decade," it added.
The daily further said that saffron is currently being cultivated in 10 provinces and its largest farmland belongs to Khorassan province.
"Besides, saffron is being cultivated in the following provinces: Yazd, Tehran, Hamedan, Fars, Markazi (central), Chahar Mahal Bakhtiari, Kerman, Semnan and Qazvin," it added.
Putting the annual hard currency incomes from export of the strategic product at 51-54 million dollars, the report said that the figure stands second to pistachio among exported items.
"At present, draught has made many world countries turn to planting draught-resistant products such as saffron.
"In the past, Greece and Morocco were tightly competing with Iran in this respect. But after Afghans and Pakistanis started planting it in their countries, they too have become new rivals," added the daily.
The daily further referred to inappropriate drying and packaging of saffron as one of Iran's drawbacks in exporting the product and urged that proper standards should be applied in producing and exporting it.
... Payvand News - 8/8/04 ... --