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Saffron production spreads from 20 to 26 provinces across Afghanistan

in Afghan Business

Saffron production spreads from 20 to 26 provinces across Afghanistan

saffronMinistry of Agriculture officials have reported that saffron production has spread from 20 provinces to 26 provinces in the past year.

Given the lucrative business of the expensive spice in the market, more Afghan farmers are turning into saffron production.

Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi said more than 4,000 kg of saffron has been exported to foreign countries this year, with each kilogram selling for between USD 5,000-USD 6,000.

In an attempt to encourage farmers to cultivate saffron, the ministry provided the farmers with corms — bulb storage organ of the saffron flower–and provides training facilities and developing methods.

Last year, Afghanistan’s saffron secured the first position among 16 other countries in terms of quality at an international exhibition. In June 2013, Afghan Saffron Company, a processing company, received the first place in the world for producing quality saffron from the International Taste and Quality Institute (iTQi).

The spice is certainly a lucrative business to the farmers and given its ability to be grown in a dry environment,  it may be a viable alternative for the poppy cultivation in the country.

The plant is drought resistant and only needs irrigation twice or three times a year, compared to poppy plants irrigated six times a year. Another advantage is that growing saffron is legal in Islam, unlike poppy that is prohibited.

It is normally cultivated in summer and collected in the last month of fall. It is used in making medicines, adding flavor to food, appetizers, and hot drinks and making perfume. It grows best in areas with light winter weather and dry, hot summers.

Saffron is yet to emerge as a major alternative to poppy cultivation in Afghanistan due to the presence of international drug lords, who control the lucrative drug commerce.



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  1. Mehdi Barghchi PhD
    Mehdi Barghchi PhD 9 September, 2013, 10:46

    Saffron is a good candidate to help production of high value agricultural product for Afghanistan as the climate is ideal and Saffron is the most highly valued agricultural product in the world. Saffron production will be a valuable crop for Afghanistan as it demands high labour input which will help employment situation in the countryside. Furthermore, as irrigation water is limited in Afghanistan, growing saffron in suitable areas makes sense as it can grow in drier areas and it needs even less water than poppy plantation which is used for opium production. However, as saffron will provide higher income than Poppy production, it will compete with poppy production and due to local circumstances security for saffron producers may be an issue.

    At the time that Afghanistan’s economy need a lot of support, it would make sense to offer an alternative to poppy production which will help the farmers and the economy therefore supporting saffron production will be a good strategic plan. Traditionally there has been some saffron production in Afghanistan but here has been massive improvement in breeding and production of saffron corms (starting material to grow saffron) which are used for plantation such as production of virus free saffron corms as starting material. If the production of this valuable crop is to be promoted in the region, it would make sense to benefit from advancements of science and technology rather than simply copy the old ways and methods which are inferior. For example, each plant of saffron will produce one or two plant (corms) for the following year and if it is diseased (virus infection is very common), the yield in the following year will be reduced in quality and quantity. We have the technology to produce thousands of new superior and improved plants from one plant in a few months (virus-free / disease free and genetically improved through micro-propagation and tissue culture). So it would be good to have a strategic plan to establish a healthy and valuable agricultural crop production for Afghanistan and use the aid finance to enable the farmers to establish a viable agricultural production right from the beginning. We can help and train Afghans to do this.

    Reply this comment
  2. hashim
    hashim 28 November, 2016, 19:23

    Dear Sir,

    We introduce ourselves one of the major dealers and exporters of saffron, from Kashmir origin, we are looking for the exporters of Afgan saffron from the direct source,
    For the purpose I may visit to your company after receiving positive information from you,

    Waiting for your reply,

    Regards,
    Hashim

    Reply this comment
  3. hashim
    hashim 28 November, 2016, 19:24

    Dear Sir,

    We introduce ourselves one of the major dealers and exporters of saffron, from Kashmir origin, we are looking for the exporters of Afgan saffron from the direct source,
    For the purpose I may visit to your company after receiving positive information from you,

    Waiting for your reply,

    Regards,
    Hashim
    kesarking@gmail.com

    Reply this comment

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