The Kabul Times.
Economic

Afghan saffron price goes up by 70 percent

National Saffron Union, a private sector organization in the country says that the price of each kilogram saffron in local markets has increased to 70,000 afg.
According to the union in-charges, saffron supply has visibly decreased in local markets.
“There is no doubt that saffron exports have caused its hike of price,” a member of the union Nasir Azimi said to the media.
The union confirms that Iranian saffron is still being imported to Afghanistan through different ways.
However, it is still unclear how many tons of saffron have been yielded and supplied to local markets last year, but the ministry of agriculture and irrigation says that over 14 tons of saffron have so far been exported.
“Of the 16 tons of saffron in 1397, at least 90 percent of it has been exported to various countries,” the spokesperson to the ministry of agriculture, irrigation and livestock Akbar Rustami said.
“This shows that Afghanistan’s saffron has a good market in the regional and international markets,” he added.
Besides, according to the saffron national union, currently, saffron price is not good in the international markets.
At the same time, a number of experts said the Iranian saffron has affected the Afghan saffron market in regional countries. 
“Iran is the world’s largest saffron producer and it is making effort to pave the way for illegal export of saffron to different countries to control the world markets,” an analyst Shafi Samim said.
Currently, India and United Arab Emirates have shown interest to purchase Afghan saffron.
Based on the ministry of agriculture’s information, over 13 tons of saffron have been yielded in the country last year, over 12 tons of which have been yielded in Herat province.
Eight tons of saffron out of 10 percent yielded last year have so far been exported, according to the chamber of commerce and industries.
After Iran and India, Afghanistan is the third largest saffron producer in the world.
A number of saffron cultivators say that if the government particularly the ministry of agriculture supports them, Afghan saffron will further grow.
Afghan saffron is being exported to different countries of the world with a fair price, but still due to low cultivation, Afghan saffron market is on the hands of neighbouring countries such as Iran.
An economic expert Shir Ali Tazri told The Kabul Times saffron is a good alternative for narcotics’ cultivation in Afghanistan that enjoys good place in the international market.
He added we are working on some projects such as cotton project in Helmand and pomegranate project in Kandahar that have international value.
It is merit to mention that Afghanistan’s weather is suitable for saffron cultivation and according to reports, saffron production rate is three times more than other countries.

Shukria Kohistani

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The Kabul Times.