Iran’s ‘Desert Gold’ Supplies Running Dry

Iran’s saffron, also called ‘desert gold’ supplies, are running dry, which producers and traders say is due to shifting weather patterns and water scarcity.

Iran’s ‘Desert Gold’ Supplies Running Dry 1

Due to a bad crop in Iran, the world’s largest source of saffron, there is a shortage of the spice on the market, according to a Financial Times story published on Tuesday that included information from local exporters and producers. The most costly spice on the planet, saffron is prized for its rich flavor, complex aroma, and vivid color.

The production in Iran, which provides more than 90% of the saffron used worldwide, is predicted to be less than half of the amount in 2022, according to the analysis.

Total production is expected to fall to about 170 metric tons from nearly 400 tons [last year],” Ali Shariati-Moghaddam, chief executive of Novin Saffron, a leading Iranian producer and exporter, told the news outlet.

The low harvest has been attributed by producers and traders to shifting weather patterns and water scarcity. The crop was severely damaged by the exceptionally low temperatures that occurred last winter, which were followed by an extremely dry and hot spring and summer, according to Mojtaba Payam-Asgari, the head of the Torbat-e Jam saffron exchange. The fact that thousands of wells meant for irrigation entirely dried up made the situation worse.

According to research conducted by The New York Times, Western companies suffered losses of more than $100 billion after leaving Russia.

Experts caution that because climate change is changing weather patterns, the problem might get worse.

Iran is more vulnerable than the global average, especially in arid and semi-arid areas [where saffron is grown]… Rainfall is declining, and evaporation and temperatures are soaring,” Mohammad Darvish, an Iranian environmentalist, told the news outlet.

Suppliers claim that since last year, the price of saffron has doubled, reaching $1,400 per kilogram on the Iranian domestic market and $1,800 abroad. This has already had an impact on Iran’s spice exports.

Many Chinese dealers were shocked by the price surge and left. They’ll have to pay even higher prices if they come back because there’s very little crop and the warehouses are empty,” Payam-Asgari of the Torbat-e Jam exchange warned.

China purchases the majority of Iranian saffron exports, which make up 45% of overall exports. Other significant purchasers include the Arab nations, Spain, and Italy, where saffron is utilized in a wide range of cuisines.

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