Press TV, Tehran
Like gold, it is measured in shekels instead of kilos. That’s why it’s called ‘red gold’, reflecting how valuable it is economically.
Turbat Heydarye in northeastern Iran is the country’s saffron-growing center, producing an average of 20 million tonnes of saffron each year. Today, the city hosts an annual saffron photography festival showcasing Iran’s saffron production and how these hardworking farmers produce strategic crops.
Iran exported about 300 tons of saffron this year, generating more than $350 million in revenue, according to data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. Experts believe that if Iran paid more attention to product branding and marketing, its share of global saffron trade could be much higher.
The young farmer says his saffron is being exported to Europe and the Middle East despite restrictions imposed by US sanctions on Iran. Concerned about the impact on saffron cultivation, he has warned of what he calls “saffron migration” from his city if left unchecked by the authorities.
In the last two years, Iran has expanded its saffron cultivation to 115,000 hectares. Iranian red gold is mainly grown in the northeastern province of Khorasan, but other regions of Iran, such as Khuzestan and Chahal Mahal Bakhtiari, are also suitable for saffron cultivation.
Saffron has been a keyword in Iran’s economy for centuries and remains so today. The Saffron Photo Festival says many know Iran for its red gold, but through the photos taken here , a glimpse into Iran’s fascinating saffron farms and how this amazing plant is produced.