Currently, water, as the most limiting factor in production, determines the priority of planting in different areas of Iran. Saffron is one of the good candidates for drought conditions since it has high economic value and low water requirements that can help with sustainable development. By identifying the factors influencing the decision on saffron cultivation and its expansion, appropriate policies can be implemented to improve the planting of this crop. Marand, located in East Azarbaijan Province, Iran, is one of the areas where farmers have started to grow saffron in recent years. The allocation of 68 hectares of agricultural land to this crop has turned the county into the hub of saffron production in the northwest of the country. This study investigated the factors affecting the decision on saffron cultivation and its development in Marand. To this end, a total of 140 farmers from two groups of saffron growers and non-saffron growers were chosen, and the Heckman’s two-step procedure was then employed. The results of estimating the first step of the Heckman procedure showed that age, familiarity with saffron growing, attending saffron training courses, the number of extension courses, marketing status, and profit status of saffron all had a positive effect on the decision on growing saffron. Moreover, the results of estimating the linear pattern of the second phase corroborated the view that the farmer’s education level, the total area under agricultural and horticultural cultivation, as well as features of agricultural land had a positive impact, and access to water resources had a negative effect on the cultivation area of saffron.
Increasing the government support for the provision of inputs and the price of saffron have a positive impact on the adoption of saffron cultivation.
Cultivation of saffron will increase because of low water requirement of saffron.
The Agriculture Jihad Organization uses educational programs and extension programs in order to raise the skills of farmers