The Kabul Times.
Economic National

Drought causes saffron harvest drop by 50pc this year

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Set of dry saffron spice and fresh saffron flowers

KABUL: Saffron has given a lower harvest of up 50 percent, as drought affected the country.
Saffron is largely grown in the country’s western Herat province, where the products have decreased by higher percentage compared to last year,  Pir Mohammad the provincial head of agriculture and livestock said. “Saffron harvest was less than 10 tons this year in the province,
comparing more than 20 tons last year,” said Mohammad calling the main reason behind seasonal heat
and drought.
Also, lack of a suitable market and reduced saffron harvest, lack of saffron exports to the international market due to road closures, have been called among
other challenges facing saffron growers.

Mawlvai Noor Ahmad Islamjar, the provincial governor also said that due to recent developments in the country, saffron exports have been stopped and that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan officials have begun talks with various countries to resume saffron exports.
The governor said that the export of saffron will restart in the near future and added the local administration of Herat was making serious efforts to resume the export of saffron to neighboring countries.
Hundreds of women are directly provided with short-term work during the saffron harvesting season, with the precious plant’s flowers take at least two months to end.
The work, as a livelihood, enables women and girls, as the only breadwinners, in the province to win some cash and support their children.
Some can earn up to 500 Afghanis (some $5.2) a day in the province, where they express pleasure for not being prevented to join the profitable business.
“In the past I used to work out of home and no one has created impediment to my work yet,” said Saleha Azizi who was interviewed by a private media.
She said the holy Islam has allowed women to work and become part of the Islamic society.
Another woman Halima who said she was happy for the firm security to work out of home in the saffron fields to support her family. “Security is sure and I thank the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan for it. I want to work only to provide a legitimate livelihood for my children,” she told Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of crocus sativus which is commonly known as saffron crocus.
Women believe saffron is so easy to harvest, when the harvest time October and November arrives helping crocus sativus start to bloom.
In a warm and dry room, women use tweezers to extract the red filaments of the stigma.
Saffron has long been the world’s costliest spice by weight which is also used as coloring agent in food.
The Kabul Times

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