Iranian Official Claims Massive Saffron Smuggling To Afghanistan

Monday, 01/15/2024

Gholam Reza Miri, chairman of the Iranian Saffron Exporters and Sellers Union, has claimed that most of Iran's saffron is smuggled to Afghanistan and packed in Spain.

According to the Fars news agency, Miri said that high Customs duties and embargoes are among the factors for the trafficking of this product.

On Sunday, Fars news agency quoted him as saying that almost half of the value of Iran's annual saffron production ends up in the pockets of smugglers.

As per Miri, in the previous year, 90 tonnes of saffron, accounting for 40% of Iran's total production of 225 tonnes, were subjected to smuggling.

He said that Afghanistan and Spain hold 21% and 16% of the global saffron markets, respectively.

On January 9, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that Iranian saffron is facing a new competitor. The report highlighted the growing saffron production in Afghanistan and its increasing export to global markets, narrowing the gap between the two countries and positioning Afghanistan as a formidable competitor to Iran.

IRNA stated, "If the increasing production and export of Afghan saffron persist in the years to come, and due attention is not given to strengthening and expanding saffron cultivation and production in Iran, it will undoubtedly escalate the seriousness of the matter, bringing the competition closer and intensifying its nature."

In Afghanistan, Herat province boasts of the highest production of saffron. Afghan saffron has earned the title of "the best saffron in the world" multiple times, surpassing contenders from dozens of countries.

Bakhtar news agency, under the control of the Taliban, quoted officials of the group as saying that 441 acres of land in the central and district areas of Kandahar province had been cultivated with saffron.

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