Photo by Soroush Shariati
A Strange Year for Saffron
The Saffron market has been in an odd place for almost a year. Some professionals and farmers say it would be near collapsing and it might even get harder for the farmers to produce anything.
Here in this article, we want to talk about some of the serious factors that have been affecting the Saffron market, farmers, and the amount of production and tell you why it has been a bizarre year for the Saffron market.
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High Prices, What is Going on?
The new Saffron season has begun on October 10, 2020. The market has been in a miserable condition since the coronavirus hit the universe. COVID-19 has made it hard for almost everyone. Coronavirus has raised the price of workers, toasting, and stripping of Saffron. Stripping is the process of hand separating the stigmas from the rest of the flower. It happens after collecting the flowers and this process must be done on the day of the harvest. On the other hand, the market started with high prices, which was due to the beginning of the season and the fact that all the Saffron was new, or Noobar in Persian, and all the exporters needed to send samples of their Saffron and the volume of available flowers were very small so they had to accept the price.
Read also: How COVID-19 Affects Saffron Market
Can Saffron Tolerate Cold Weather?
Due to its warm nature, Saffron can withstand cold weather to a large extent. Saffron onion continues its normal growth at a temperature of minus 40 degrees Celsius and fully preserves the freshness and vitality of the leaves.
Chives are propagated by converting mother onions into new onions (daughter onions). This reproduction begins in December of each year, and by April, all the nutrients inside the mother onion are transferred to the new onions, so that nothing remains of the mother onion except a thin sheet. This process continues every year until the density of onions reaches such a level that the land is not able to meet the needs of onions. It takes about 6 to 7 years, and farmers basically move the Saffron onions to a new place every 7 years.
What Happened This Year?
After a week, the price of many flowers dropped down and it went down sharply. Factors that had such an impact on this year’s market were the coldness and the heavy rains of the last year. This caused the onions to start multiplying the daughter onions. Each onion turns into three onions, and this causes the onion to become thinner. It means instead of using its food to grow, the onion uses it for reproduction. Many onions were propagated but they were small and this caused the quality level of flowers to fall down this year. The reduction in quality continued to lead to lower prices, and unfortunately, in the last three days, the price of flowers has reached such a minimum that it is not economically logical for the farmer to pay workers to collect the farm.
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Can Farmers Survive This Situation?
In the last two days, many farmers have been telling the workers to collect the Saffron and just give half of it to themselves, so the workers can hold on to the other half. Farmers had to do this because they don’t have any more money to pay their workers so in this way the workers might do it for free.
Many farmers did not collect the flowers at all. Some farmers cut their onions and flowers out of rage and, in fact, stopped producing Saffron.
This year is strange. We think that the production is going to be much lower than the previous year. The quality level will decrease and this will force many farmers to leave their Saffron farms and businesses. But with all the negative points, it is possible that the exit of the farmers and the reduction in cultivation might balance the level of supply and demand.