WFP has announced today that the Novin Saffron Company, the leading producer and exporter of high quality Iranian saffron, has become WFP’s first private sector partner in Iran.
This is a landmark event which we hope will also be replicated in the region
Robert Hauser, WFP’s Representative in Iran
“We thank Novin Saffron for its generous US$30,000 donation, which will go to benefit WFP’s beneficiaries in Iran, and we look forward to a fruitful cooperation in the coming year,” said Robert Hauser, WFP’s Representative in Iran, during the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding, which stipulates that a percentage of the company’s annual sales will also go to benefit WFP’s work in Iran.
WFP’s US$16 million operation, which assists over 30,000 Afghan and Iraqi refugees residing in Iran, depends entirely on voluntary contributions but so far has received only US$8 million of the total funds needed.
“This donation is extremely timely. The people we assist rank among the poorest refugees in the country but the funding shortfall is restricting us from giving them the help they desperately need,” added Hauser.
In order to continue its work in Iran, WFP decided in early 2006 to broaden its funding base by reaching out to private donors and corporations and building new and innovative relationships that align the humanitarian agency’s core strengths with the expertise of the private sector.
“WFP hopes to raise a sizeable percentage of its resources from the private sector in Iran in the foreseeable future and seeks contributions that can best serve its beneficiaries,” stressed Hauser.
Novin Saffron was established in 1992 with the goal of producing, processing, packaging, marketing and selling saffron using new and innovative approaches.
On average, 95 percent of their products, exclusively saffron of different types, is exported to European and Arab countries as well as Canada, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and the United States.
“We are honoured to be the first company to be registered in what we are sure is going to be a long list of WFP supporters in Iran in the very near future,” said Ali Shariati Moghaddam, Managing Director of the Novin Saffron Company.
Since launching private donor outreach initiative globally in January 2003, WFP has acquired several major partners, such as TNT, Citigroup and Danone among others, and has sought to expand its activities through more than 20 new funding initiatives.
This is the first ever private sector partner in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“This is a landmark event which we hope will also be replicated in the region,” added Hauser.
WFP opened an office in Iran in 1971 and was active in several projects requiring food assistance until 1979.
At the request of the government, WFP resumed activities in 1987 and today provides food assistance to 25,987 Afghan refugees and 4,690 Iraqi refugees.
In addition, in 2003, WFP provided emergency food assistance to nearly 100,000 survivors of the Bam earthquake and who were gradually able to re-establish their livelihoods.