Officials said that this year has seen a marked increase in the amount of land being cultivated in Herat for saffron and they expect eight tons to be harvested.
Third Saffron Flower Festival Kicks Off In Herat
The Third Saffron Flower Festival opened in western Herat province on Monday and a number of farmers and saffron producers put their products on display.
Herat’s agriculture, irrigation and livestock department head Abdul Saboor Rahmani said this year Herat farmers will harvest over eight tons of saffron and saffron cultivation will increase in the province.
“Last year 2,540 acres of land was cultivated for saffron, but this year the number went up to over 3,500 acres and we expect to produce over eight tons of saffron,” said Rahmani.
Herat governor Mohammad Asif Rahimi meanwhile welcomed the increase in saffron cultivation said saffron will soon take the place of poppies.
“Currently Afghanistan’s name has been tainted by drug cultivation and drug production and everyone says that Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world’s drug (opium). We hope that one day we should be able to produce 90 percent of the world’s saffron,” said Rahimi.
In addition to the ministry of agriculture, irrigation and livestock’s efforts to promote saffron in the country, the Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development – Facility (CARD-F) NGO is also working for the expansion of saffron cultivation in Herat.
“We have worked with the farmers in Herat to develop saffron and have trained them in this regard. Also, we have gained international licenses for a few factories to produce and sell saffron,” said the head of CARD-F office in Herat Basher Ahmad Nusrat said.
Farmers and factories involved in the production of saffron said they have had good achievements in the past four years and they are motivated as government supports saffron production.
“We are happy that from the president to the agriculture, irrigation and livestock ministry and to the local officials all try to boost cultivation and production of saffron and their motivation has resulted in having specific visions for saffron expansion,” said Basher Ahmad Ahmadi, head of the National Saffron Producers Union.
Currently dozens of foreign countries especially India, China, America and Spain are the main consumers of Herat saffron.