Spices

Saffron: illegal trafficking spells disaster

May 19, 2020 9:01 AM, Der AUDITOR
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TEHRAN. Traders in Iran are outraged at the government’s inactivity in dealing with smugglers. They call for urgent action. Recent rains have, in addition, delayed the cultivation of the new crop.

Bulbs are highly attractive for smugglers

The start of the cultivation season has been nominally delayed from 20 May to 25 May. Traders are, however, more concerned about the smuggling of bulbs to Afghanistan. An estimated 20% of the saffron produced in Iran is smuggled out of the country by Afghan traders. For these traders it is becoming increasingly attractive to produce saffron in their own country and become more independent from Iran. To this end, large volumes of bulbs are illegally carried out of Iran in suitcases, which has a detriment effect on production. Problem is that these smugglers are only fined, which does not deter them from trafficking and market players are convinced that these activities will eventually ruin production if the state continues to fail to act.

Iran has made a big mistake

In the past, the government has made a strategic mistake in providing Afghanistan with excess bulbs as a means of prompting farmers to switch away from poppy cultivation. This has, however, given rise to a strong competitor as manpower is cheap and Afghanistan has sufficient land and water. Traders are calling on officials in Iran to implement strict protocols on planting bulbs and harvesting saffron and to actively engage in branding the spice. An additional problem is that Spain frequently purchases cheap saffron in Iran and resells the spice after processing with its own brands. Low demand and exchange rate fluctuations have pushed down prices by EUR 0.12-0.19 per kg. The coronavirus restrictions on cargo and passenger flights are deterring overseas buyers.

 

Saffron, premium quality, Iran

Type

EUR/kg

Bunch, Dasteh

432

Poushal

490

All Red Sargol

516

Negin

645

FOB Iran

 

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price chart, saffron, dried, Negin, Iran
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