Iran’s saffron exports have increased by more than 40 percent over the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 19, 2012), standing at over 130 tons.
Ali Safarzadeh, the head of Industry, Mines and Commerce Organization in the northeastern province of Khorassan Razavi, said on Thursday that Iran exported 133 tons of the precious spice worth $409 million last year.
He added that the figure indicated a 48-percent rise compared to the year earlier, which ended on March 20, 2011.
Iran, the largest saffron producer in the world, exports the spice to 46 countries all over the world.
Due to Iran’s diverse climate and fertile soil, the country’s agricultural products are rated among the best in the world, with its saffron standing second to none.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus.
Some 300 tons of dried whole threads and powder are gleaned yearly worldwide, of which 50 tons is top-grade “coupe” saffron.
Iran, with its cultivation of different varieties, is the largest producer of saffron with more than 90 percent of the world’s total production.
Saffron also has a long medicinal history as part of traditional healing. Several modern research studies have also hinted that the spice has possible anti-carcinogenic (cancer-suppressing), anti-mutagenic (mutation-preventing), immunomodulating, and antioxidant-like properties.