Afghan Saffron Tops 16 Nations at World Exhibition
 
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Afghanistan's saffron has been awarded first place for quality among 16 countries at the International Saffron Exhibition held in France, officials said Wednesday.

"At the exhibition which was held in France, Afghan saffron got the first position among sixteen saffron producers including Iran," the head of Mahtab Saffron Company Mohammad Ibrahim said.

Afghanistan's climate is suitable for the cultivation of saffron and its quality has long been considered one of the best among all other saffron productions around the world.

According to officials, if good care is taken, the saffron onion in Afghanistan can produce up to 14 leaves, while saffron from other countries can produce up to five leaves in one plant.

Afghanistan's Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock officials said that they are working on finding better international markets for the Afghan saffron.

"Even though saffron production is still in its primary stages and we are promoting it, its harvests have been good. We are also trying to find more international markets for this product," Promotion Department chief at the Afghan Agriculture Ministry Hakam Khan Habibi said.

Saffron has increasingly been touted as a viable alternative to opium production for farmers looking for lucrative returns in Afghanistan, with its high sale price in international markets.

The latest recognition of its quality at the world exhibition is likely to drive demand and prices even higher.

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