Top Saffron Importing And Exporting Countries

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In foods, saffron is used as a spice, yellow food coloring, and flavoring agent. In manufacturing, saffron extracts are used as a fragrance in perfumes and as a dye for cloth.

The top saffron exporting countries are:

  • Spain
  • Afghanistan
  • Hong Kong
  • Uzebekistan
  • France

Top 5 Saffron Producing Countries:

Iran: With approximately 430 tons of production in 2019, Iran is ranked first among the countries which produce and export saffron in the world. Since Iran is not a member of WTO and is subjected to sanctions, most of its production is sold at an unreasonably lower price to other countries such as Spain, Hong Kong, and UAE. With rich soil and cold and arid areas, Iran is the most suitable country for cultivating saffron. Ghaenat is a very popular brand in the field of saffron production. Moreover, Gonabad saffron has a registered trademark from FAO for the traditional cultivation and irrigation methods.

Spain is the second-largest producer of saffron in the world after Iran. Universities in Spain largely focus on their research to improve the quality as well as cropper yield of saffron. The districts where saffron is being cultivated in Spain are perfectly similar to those of Iran such as Ghaenat. Although Spain produces only 25 tons of saffron, it is one of the most important exporters of this magic spice.

Afghanistan: According to the latest reports in 2018, Afghanistan has produced 18 tons of saffron and is rapidly increasing its share of global saffron export share in the world. The 58 million dollar export market of this golden spice, is an attractive market for foreign investors. Because of similarities in climate, Iranian and Afghan saffron are pretty similar.

Afghanistan has recently imported 13 tons of saffron to India and is finding customers in many other countries such as the USA and Saudi Arabia.

India: In Kashmir province, India more than 120 thousand families are working in the saffron industry. In India, about two hundred villages located in five districts of Kashmir are producing high-quality Kashmiri saffron which has a great aroma. India also has an important role in saffron trading by importing 11 percent of total saffron production in the world.

Greece: The lands located in the north of Greece are suitable for cultivating saffron. Greece produces about 8 tons of saffron per year which have an export value of 9.47 million dollars. Although Spain is the main European saffron exporter, Greece has introduced itself as one of the main exporters in Europe.

Recently, the international institute of food taste and quality measurement has announced Afghanistan’s saffron as the best saffron in the world for the fourth consecutive year. However, many believe that these results are somehow affected by the political issues and the sanctions imposed on Iran by western countries.


In 2019, the world imports of Saffron exceeded 218 million dollars according to external trade statistics of 123 countries. It was 300 million dollars in the previous year according to merchandise trade statistics of 137 countries.


The global saffron market size was valued at 374.6 million dollars in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5 percent from 2020 to 2028. Growing demand for saffron in medical and cosmetic applications is expected to be a key driving factor for the market in the forecast period. Saffron is rich in antioxidants and offers several health benefits. The main active compounds present in saffron include picrocrocin, safranal, and crocin. These compounds help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the human brain. Furthermore, saffron is known for its memory-enhancing, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, which is likely to propel the growth of the market. Furthermore, it is used as a natural UV absorbing agent in the cosmetics industry.

The world's largest importers of this commodity group in 2019 are:

Hong Kong with 15.5 percent of the world imports valued at 33 million dollars followed by Spain with 14.9 percent of total global imports valued at 32 million dollars. Saudi Arabia is the third-highest importer with 9.1 percent of overall world imports valued at 19.9 million dollars. India is next with 8.38 percent which is valued at 18.3 million dollars and the United Arab Emirates is the fifth-highest importer of the commodity with 8.33 percent valued at 18.2 million dollars.


In 2019, the world exports of Saffron" exceeded 115 million dollars according to external trade statistics of 66 countries. It was 471 million dollars in the previous year according to merchandise trade statistics of 74 countries.

The world's largest exporters of this commodity group in 2019: Spain with 41 percent of the world exports valued at 47 million dollars followed by Afghanistan with 22 percent of total global exportation valued at 26 million dollars. Hong Kong is the third highest exporter of saffron with 4.71 percent valued at 5.44 million dollars. Uzbekistan is ranked fourth in global exportation with 4.43 percent valued at 5.12 million dollars.

France is the fifth largest exporter of the commodity with 3.88 percent valued at 4.48 million dollars followed by the Netherlands with 3.59 percent which is valued at 4.14 million dollars.

Asian cuisine is incomplete without a few sprigs of saffron plucked from the flowers and preserved as a spice. The aroma and the flavor that saffron infuses into a dish make it even more delectable.

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and coloring agent in food. Saffron has long been the world's costliest spice by weight.


Saffron is very expensive due to the difficulty of harvesting it. Farmers must harvest the delicate threads from each flower by hand.

They then heat and cure the threads to bring out the flavor of the saffron. This extra labor makes saffron one of the most expensive spices in the world.


The benefits of saffron may include: Providing antioxidants, Preventing nervous system disorders, Boosting mood, Promoting libido, Reducing PMS symptoms, and Promoting weight loss.

The delicate and subtle fragrance of this tiny little purple flower makes it the most expensive spice in the world. The crimson styles and the stigma are carefully plucked from the flowers and collected. These are dried and used for giving a subtle and delicate flavor and color to food. Saffron contains a pigment that gives a rich golden color to the delectable dishes prepared. Saffron plants thrive in bright sunny conditions.


Saffron Price in the international market:

Among a variety of spices from the different world regions, saffron price is known as the highest ones. Generally, there are a lot of ideas about the highest price for spice in the world. For instance, the most expensive spicy harvested in Austria is a Peruvian chili known as Charapita. And, the price of this yellow spicy is around 26,000 USD per kilogram. Also, you could find Vanilla, Cardamom, Clove, Cinnamon, Turmeric, and saffron as expensive species.




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Iran is ranked first among the countries which produce and export saffron in the world. Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried.



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