Afghanistan has exported saffron to US, China, Europe and Arab countries this year, according to officials.
As the harvest season nears, farmers in the western province of Herat expect to harvest more than 18 tons of saffron, according to predictions by Herat’s Agriculture Department.
This year 7,000 hectares of land were planted with saffron bulbs in the province, said agricultural officials in Herat, adding that the “good weather” caused the harvest to double compared to last year, which was close to 10 tons.
“This year the cultivation was high, and the people showed an interest in cultivation,” said Bashir Ahmad Ahmadi, deputy head of Herat’s Agriculture Department. “The price of bulbs was also lower this year, and was available to all formers.”
Khadeja, a woman who harvests saffron said: “We found jobs, and we can help our family. The women before were jobless but now they are coming and working in the fields,” she said.
The price of each kilogram of saffron in Herat is about AFs70,000 (over $900) and last year it was AFs40,000 (almost $500).
In the meantime, officials of the National Saffron Union said the saffron price will not decrease in the local and international markets, based on performance of exports so far.
“Our companies exported to Europe and to Arab countries, which was not bad,” said Bashir Ahmad Rashidi, head of the National Saffron Union.
China, India, US, Europe and Arab countries were the buyers of the country’s saffron so far this year, according to officials.
The farmers in Herat are also “happy” from the increase in the harvest.
“This year, the weather was cold which gave us a good season,” Mohammad Ibrahim, a farmer said, adding that “the weather also had a positive impact on the quality of the saffron.”
Herat is one of the largest provinces in Afghanistan and produces more saffron in comparison to other provinces.