Iran’s customs office IRICA says the country earned over $190 million from exports of saffron in the year to March 20.
IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said on Monday that saffron exports over the past calendar year had amounted to nearly 325 metric tons in volume terms.
Latifi said Iranian saffron exports through registered channels had reached some 60 countries around the world over the period.
Customers in Hong Kong had accounted for more than a fifth of saffron purchases from Iran over the past calendar year as they paid some $46.6 million for over 74,500 tons of shipments, he said.
The United Arab Emirates came second at around $34 million for nearly 60 tons of saffron while Spain, a global hub of saffron processing, came third at nearly 50 tons with $24.4 million of payments, said the official.
China and Afghanistan were down on the list with lower amounts of purchases, said Latifi , adding that the five top buyers had accounted for nearly 80% of saffron purchases from Iran both in value and volume terms.
Iran is the world’s number one supplier of saffron as it is responsible for nearly 95% of the global production of the expensive spice.
IRICA figures last year showed that lands dedicated to saffron cultivation in Iran had amounted to 115,000 hectares, of a total global figure of 122,000 hectares.
Iran’s saffron production declined last calendar year compared to the year to March 2020 when total output had reached nearly 500 tons.
Trade restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic and lower prices are believed to have contributed to the decline in the output for the "red gold" in Iran.