Kozani in Macedonia with its mild climate produces the best quality organic saffron in the world and has been growing in this area for the last 500 years. Although saffron is also grown in Spain, Morocco and Central Asian countries, saffron from Greece is considered premium worldwide and now the first consignment of Greek saffron, referred to as Greece’s ‘red gold’ will be exported to China by the end of May, the President of the Kozani Saffron Producers Cooperative, Nikos Patsiouras, told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday.
Patsiouras expressed his satisfaction on behalf of the Kozani saffron producers and said this commercial development means entering a market of tremendous dynamic potential.
This new saffron trade conduit was agreed during the recent visit of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Beijing, said Patsiouras, and the agreement will be finalised in coming days. As he described it, China decided to go ahead with the importing of Kozani saffron following a 2.5-year process and visits by Chinese authorities to the saffron cooperative.
“We are the first in Greece to export saffron to China,” said Patsiouras, “we have all the necessary documents and our product meets all specifications as per Chinese legislation.”
Shipping of Kozani saffron to China will begin as soon as all the documents are signed, said the President of the Kozani Cooperative, and stressed that this “entire process of getting closer to the Chinese market was a marathon in and of itself.”
Patsiouras also noted that Greek saffron is superior to similar products available in the Chinese market, as Kozani saffron complies to all EU standards, a fact that was explicitly mentioned to the Chinese officials who recently visited the cooperative’s facilities.
He concluded by saying that saffron is being farmed in an area as large as 0.55 hectares, but did say that if Chinese demand increases, Kozani producers are prepared to meet it.
Kozani saffron is currently exported to the rest of Europe, the US, Australia, and more recently Vietnam.