Saffron Suits Helmand’s Climate

in Afghan Business

Saffron Suits Helmand’s Climate

Trials over the past year to grow saffron in Helmand province have proved successful with the province’s climate suiting the plant well, the provincial director of the Department of Agriculture, Obaidullah Ahmadzai, said.

The scheme also included some training for more than 400 farmers interested in learning how to grow saffron, he added.

One kilogramme of saffron costs about $3,000 in Afghanistan, $6,000 in the region as much as $8,000 on international markets. Growing saffron may potentially be very lucrative for Afghan farmers.

Afghan local officials said that the farmers have agreed to grow saffron if they can find markets in which to sell their produce.

Helmand is the largest producer of poppy in Afghanistan and government and international officials are striving to convince farmers to switch to growing other crops such a wheat, pomegranates and now saffron.

Saffron can be cultivated and harvested once a year in Afghanistan and needs to be watered 4 times before being harvested.

Saffron cultivation was started six years ago in western Herat province. It is now grown in 20 provinces.



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