Some think that saffron is a way to get rich quickly, attracted by the high price per kilo of this spice.
In reality, the cultivation of saffron is an agricultural profession like any other, and like all professions linked to the land, it is laborious work and little remunerative in terms of income, particularly in relation to the amount of work generated.
Of the different crops, saffron is perhaps the most labor intensive in terms of hours/labour compared to extension. For this reason, I recommend that you think carefully before starting a big saffron harvest.
Of course, if saffron cultivation is properly managed, it may involve investment and effort and make farming a profession, but if you are looking for easy money, you should give up the idea of saffron cultivation. and look elsewhere.
Below I try to focus on what makes this spice grow, looking at what the costs are and what the revenue expectations are. Obviously, it will not be possible to make a business plan or provide exact figures: the variables involved are numerous and each situation can have its own peculiarities. The information you find is not pure theory, but the result of my experience with Vallescuria, a small farm in Brianza that grows saffron.
source of income
Make money selling saffron
Earn money selling light bulbs
The yield of saffron
The costs of a saffron grove
source of income
To answer those who wonder how much saffron cultivation brings in, we can start by listing the potential income from a saffron grove. Saffron cultivation can be earned in two ways: by selling the spice and by selling the bulbs. To maximize the benefits, you must be able to develop both.
the price per gram . The price of saffron is very high, it is well known. These are very variable figures which can vary from 8 euros per gram to 30 euros. Normally a good Italian saffron on the stigmas so a high quality product can cost double or even triple that of sachets bought from supermarkets this means if you are able to make a good saffron and place it you can think of get 20 or 25 euros per gram.
What a spread. The price indication I gave is the cost at which the saffron is sold to the end customer. So if you want to earn that amount, you have to sell directly to the private customer. If, on the other hand, you go to stores, wholesalers or other intermediaries, the price is halved and you risk earning much less. On the other hand, it will be easier to sell the spice. If you sell the stigmas to restaurants, the cost will be slightly higher than the wholesaler, unless you can improve the quality of higher level restaurants.
The sale of bulbs is another sector that allows economic benefit, the customers in this case are other people who want to undertake the cultivation. Saffron bulbs multiply from year to year, so once the plant is started, there will be a surplus of crocus stativus bulbs that can be sold. The price of the bulbs depends on their size and the quantities purchased.
Sell bulbs to farmers . Farmers who want to buy bulbs for professional cultivation usually take large quantities, so the prices will also be lower. Bulbs can be sold by number (thousands) or by weight (quintal).
Sale of light bulbs to individuals. Saffron bulbs can also be sold in small quantities to individuals, who want to try putting saffron in the garden or even trying to grow flowers on the balcony out of curiosity. Even in blisters, selling to individuals brings in more revenue, but requires more publicity and contacts.
permissions . To sell bulbs to individuals or other producers, it is better to have the certification of nurserymen, it is better to be wary of those who sell bulbs without perhaps being able to guarantee adequate precautions to avoid the proliferation of fungal diseases.
The yield of saffron
Saffron is very expensive because it yields very little in terms of quantity. From thousands of bulbs, occupying several hundred square meters of cultivated land, a few tens of grams of spice are obtained. Only the stigmas of each plant serve as a spice: three very fine red threads inserted into each flower. If you are doing calculations to determine the amount of saffron or to make a business plan, you must take this into account.
Some numbers . I try to give some figures so that inexperienced readers can get an idea. Obviously, these are all indicative figures: the number of flowers produced by a crocus sativus bulb is variable and depends on many factors, first of all fertilization, climate and the size of the bulb. However, an average of 2-5 flowers per bulb can be expected. According to these figures, imagine that having 10,000 bulbs could give, say, 30,000 flowers, from which we would obtain 200 grams of saffron in the stigmas, for a value of less than 4,000 euros. These numbers should begin to show that a crop’s profit is certainly not stratospheric precisely because the yield in terms of quantity is so low.
The cost of a grove of crocuses
Knowing how much you earn from growing saffron is not enough to understand how much it actually pays. Once the billing fees are removed, the value of the business is obtained, it is what stays in the pockets of those who have the business. The objective of any economic activity is to make the initial investment profitable and, obviously, to have income above ordinary operating expenses, in order to register a profit.
investment costs . The expenses that must be made to start a saffron farm are not unaffordable, they are basically comparable to those of any agricultural activity (bureaucratic expenses, land, tools, fertiliser, etc.). In addition to the traditional expenses of each farm, there is the purchase of bulbs, an essential expense to start the harvest. The subject of expenses and initial investment is very important in the calculation of costs and income and essential if you want to write a business plan. To better understand the different expense items that this culture involves, you can read the article dedicated to the expenses involved in a saffron field, this can help you make the necessary investment.
labor costs . When calculating the costs it is important not to neglect the manual work, your work if (as I wish you!) you are personally involved in the field. This is the biggest cost: growing saffron takes a lot of time to pull the weeds, plant the bulbs, pick the flowers, clean the stigmas, then pull the weeds and pull them again. I hope I haven’t discouraged you, if not, I just have to wish you a good job!