how to import saffron from iran?

How to Import Saffron from Iran?

Not only does Iran produce most of the total saffron production in the world, but also provides the best quality saffron. That is why international companies are looking for ways to import saffron from Iran. Iran Saffron is known as the top quality saffron, in the world. This blog reviews the saffron export statistics of Iran to different regions, as well as introducing ways of importing saffron from Iran, explaining the cons and pros of each.

What are the top Iranian saffron importer countries in 2021? 

Iran has totally exported 313 tons of saffron in 2021. China (86 tons), United Arab Emirates (68 tons), Spain (45 tons), Afghanistan (37), Vietnam (10 tons), Oman (8 tons), Qatar (6 tons), India (5 tons), Italy (4 tons), etc. have imported saffron in 2021.

Sadly, most of Iran’s saffron production is exported by middlemen, mainly for re-exporting purposes. Below, we have explained why?

The dominance of Improper agriculture exporting policies by Iran governmental organizations, banking sanction, and Iran’s limited business and political relationships with other countries makes it hard for most trusted and experienced exporters and manufacturers to become active in their industries in recent years. Therefore, the export and trade of some products such as saffron is processed through unofficial channels with the help of intermediaries. In addition to that, the lack of governmental support from exporters and manufacturers, as well as, decrease of Rial value (Iranian currency) limited the marketing, advertising, and branding efforts of saffron manufacturers and exporters.

This is why developing direct sales channels and networks for direct Iranian saffron distribution and retailing in global markets are very costly and time-consuming. As a result, Iranian saffron is directly exported to several main destinations in bulk packaging, most of which is re-exported as non-Iranian origin (Spanish or Afghan) saffron.

These companies could gain more share of the saffron global market, and added value because of the ease of trade and deploying highly developed marketing and branding strategies, in their countries.

The re-exported products are marketed under the origin of the middle country. In addition to the above-mentioned factors, imposed sanctions had limited easy access to international markets for Iranian saffron exporters.

Also, high saffron import tariffs to certain countries such as India, China, USA have limited the direct export of Iranian saffron to such countries.

Taking this into account, most of the Spanish, Afghan, and Indian saffron in the market are most probably re-packaged from Iranian saffron origin. Based on UNIDO statistics and global trend reports, with the overall increase of Iranian saffron export to the world, the export rate of other countries has risen, too.

To support this claim, UNIDO explains that in 2010 Spain only produced 2.3 tons of saffron, while their saffron export rate is near 50 million dollars in the same year.

The table of export rates for major saffron producer companies (2008-2012) shows that Iran has been the major saffron producer and exporter in the world.

export of major saffron producers

How to import saffron from Iran?

There are different ways to import saffron from Iran. Some companies are not willing to get involved in the direct importing process from Iran, as some risks may be present. As the indication of Iran origin in the banking, shipping and COO documents may make some troubles for the importers. 

This is why many importers of Iranian saffron tend to buy saffron from the Iranian agent company in other intermediary countries, including UAE, Oman, and Afghanistan. Representative, and other Impex companies in the second country buy saffron from an Iranian company and re-export to final markets.

Therefore, they prefer to be cautious in purchasing Iranian products, such as saffron, from an intermediary country. On the other hand, some prefer to be purchase directly from Iran to maintain longer and more cost-efficient business relationships with Iranian companies.

As below, we introduced possible ways to facilitate import of saffron from Iran:

Purchase saffron from intermediary firms

With respect to the trade limitations in Iran, such as high export tariff to some countries, imposed international sanctions, money transfer restriction and other trade risks, some Iranian companies work with or establish one company for international trade purposes in Persian Gulf countries, such as UAE, Oman and etc. The intermediary firms make international trade safe for both importer and exporters.

SunLand has established an intermediary firm in Dubai to facilitate international trades with other countries. Therefore, international companies of other countries can easily import saffron without any concerns of trading restriction.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of indirect import of saffron may include:

  • The increased cost of purchasing saffron,
  • The risk of saffron manipulation by dealers and intermediaries (In case the goods are not purchased from official representatives or the parent company)  
  • Longer supply and shipping time requirements:


For example, the Iranian companies are responsible for the potential risks of trading with Indian companies through indirect route of Afghanistan. The risks may include all the above-mentioned, plus the possibility of confiscation of goods by the Afghan government. Meanwhile, all the efforts are made to gain the Indian importer company’s satisfaction, which are looking for purchasing cheaper and low riskier saffron from Iran.

Purchase saffron directly from Iran

Some companies prefer to purchase directly from Iran origin. This is a more suitable option for those companies, which are looking for long-term business relationships and long-lasting presence in the saffron market.

The main trading challenge with Iran is the money transfer issues. Some countries may have applied stricter laws against any kind of money transfer to Iran. There are also alternative options to bypass money transfer issues.

SunLand saffron company either use its bank accounts information in other countries or get help from exchanges to deal with money transfer issues. This way, saffron importer companies do not have to worry about a direct relationship with Iran because money and logistic restrictions are bypassed using different ways.

accepting cryptocurrencies for saffron orders

Recently, SunLand has opened up the possibility of trading saffron with cryptocurrencies. This new payment method has made it easier for many importers to experience a secure and quick way of trading. SunLand accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether (USDT), XRP, BNB, USDC, ADA cryptocurrencies. This payment method helps both parties to bypass sanction limitations and trading limitations, as well as incurring lower fees and expenses for the importer.

SunLand Iranian saffron exporter

SunLand eases direct relationships with international customers, by providing a safe route to transfer money and goods. SunLand has deployed the above-mentioned trading strategies, such as establishing intermediary company in other countries, and accepting cryptocurrencies to facilitate payments. Therefore, companies do not have to worry about direct trading with an Iranian company.

With respect to the general deficiencies in Iranian saffron packaging and marketing strategies, SunLand has taken a step further than other counterparts in the saffron industry. Our company has carefully examined packaging requirements in different markets. Therefore, SunLand has developed private and white labeling services following specific standards of different regions. Now, SunLand provides such services for all international customers.

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