The Kabul Times.
Economic

Saffron production increases by 21 percent this year, MAIL

Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock says saffron production has increased by 21 percent this year comparing to previous years.
According to officials of the ministry, saffron has cultivated in 31,220 acre agricultural field in the country, showing 21 percent increase comparing to last year.
“This year, saffron production has increased up to 13 tons in Afghanistan,” a spokesperson to the ministry of agriculture, irrigation and livestock Akram Rustami said, adding that saffron production has reached this year to 12,955 kg showing 21 percent increase comparing to last year.
Rustami further said that saffron has been cultivated in Herat, Faryab, Faryab, Kandahar, Balkh, Sar-e-Pul and Farah.
According to officials of the respective ministry, cultivation of saffron has been also tested in greenhouse with cooperation of China in Daikundi, Bamyan and Kabul.
The MAIL spokesperson also said that 90 percent of Afghanistan saffron was exported to Asian, Arabic, European countries as well as the United States.
Rustami also added that the produced saffron in Afghanistan was worth 17 million USD, while it would be sold three fold in foreign markets.
A number of Afghan experts on agricultural sector say the government of Afghanistan and farmers should pay further attention to cultivation of saffron in the country as it is a good alternative of poppy in the country.
“Saffron needs little water and only few farmers need to collect the product,” an Afghan expert Eng. Habibullah Ahmadzai said, adding that saffron is a good alternative of poppy as its seed is very cheap and needs little water and time to collect.
According to officials of the ministry of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, the government of Afghanistan in particular ministry of agriculture, irrigation and livestock has a five-year plan for increasing and promoting of saffron cultivation.
Saffron has now changed to one of the best source of income and good alternative of poppy and opium in Afghanistan. After Herat where saffron is considered as better source of income, saffron cultivation has increased considerably in most of provinces of the country.
In the is worth mentioning other than Herat 25 more provinces are cultivating saffron, and in the last year alone, about 4 tons were exported to the US, Germany, Britain and other countries. The Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industry considers saffron one of the country’s most important exports.
Last month, the Afghan Saffron Company was ranked number one in the world for quality by the International Taste and Quality Institute. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the Afghan Saffron Company operates the production, processing, packaging and marketing of saffron. Last year, Afghanistan’s saffron secured the top position among 16 other competing countries.
Shukria Kohistani

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