Promotion of Saffron Cultivation in Most Provinces of Afghanistan

In consideration to promotion of saffron cultivation in the country, a large number of farmers have shown interest in cultivation of saffron in their farm lands. Balkh is among provinces where cultivation of saffron has increased.

Officials to Saffron Association in Balkh have informed of increasing of saffron cultivation in the province, asking local officials to find world market for their products.

Head of the association Sediqullah Kaker says cultivation of saffron is increasing by passing each day in Balkh.

“By passing each year, cultivation of saffron is increasing. This year, nearly 140 – 150 kg saffron has been produced,” Kaker said, adding that a number of organization have come to train farmers in the field of quality.

Officials for provincial agriculture department have admitted that cultivation of saffron has increased comparing to past years, saying that currently saffron is cultivated in various districts as Sholgara, Dehdadi, Khulm and Dawlatabad.

Provincial director of the province’s agriculture department Zabihullah Zubeen says nearly 500 people both male and female are currently working in the field of cultivation, processing and packaging saffron in Balkh province.

“Nearly 110 women and 370 men are working in producing, processing and packaging saffron in the province – generally work in the field of cultivation and producing of saffron has increased comparing to previous years,” Zubeen said.

Based on information of Balkh Saffron Association, the price of 1kg saffron reaches to 70,000 – 80,000 afghani, the same amount is sold by $6,000 in international markets. According to provincial department for Balkh, season for cultivation of saffron has begun in the province and will continue for two more months.

An official of a company responsible for selling saffron in Balkh Fariba Esyan says although presence of women in producing and processing the saffron is considerable Balkh comparing to other provinces of the country, their work from point of quality and capacity as they have not received professional training in the field of cultivation and processing saffron.

“We should work more in cultivation and processing of saffron with high-quality – more women are working in the field of cultivation and producing saffron in the province, but unfortunately they produce low quality saffron,” Esyan said, asking government and non-government organizations to pay considerable attention to quality of saffron.

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.

Shukria Kohistani