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China top customer of Iranian saffron in March-October: IRICA

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
IRICA figures show China bought $18.26 million worth of saffron from Iran between March and October.

China topped the list of major saffron buyers from Iran in the seven months to October 22, shows figures by the Iranian customs office (IRICA) despite a fall in sales of the lucrative spice this calendar year.

IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said on Saturday that Chinese purchases of saffron from Iran in the March-October period had topped $18.26 million, accounting for more than 30% of the sales of the spice over the period.

A bulk of the Chinese saffron purchases from Iran, some 24.52 metric tons, had been shipped in cargoes containing saffron packs of above 30 grams, said Latifi.

He added that customers in the East Asian country had bought nearly $4.32 million worth of saffron in packs of below 10 grams while the rest had been shipped in the packs of 10-30 grams.

Total saffron sales from Iran over the seven months to late October had amounted to $60.17 million in value terms as shipments reached 60 countries around the world, showed IRICA figures.

Spain was the second top customer of the Iranian saffron over the same period with nearly 10 million worth of purchases, said Latifi.

Iran is the world’s largest producer of saffron as the country supply over 92% of the global demand for the spice.

However, latest custom figures suggest annual saffron sales from the country will experience a major drop at the end of the calendar year to late March.

Iran exported nearly 424.5 tons of saffron last year as revenues for government companies and private sellers amounted to more than $190 million over the period.


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