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    Pilot saffron project being launched in Khost

    KHOST CITY (PAN): The agriculture department would grow saffron, seen as a good alternative to poppies, as part of a pilot project in southeastern Khost province, the governor's office said on Tuesday.

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation has already provided saffron seeds to the provincial agriculture department, the governor's house said in a statement. The seeds will be sown over a half an acre of land to see the quantity of harvest.

    Agriculture extension officer, Mohammad Rahim, told Pajhwok Afghan News the project was aimed at introducing the crop in the province. He said Khost lacked arable land, compared to the requirements of its population.

    If the produce level was satisfactory, farmers would be able to take benefit of the project, he said, hoping the lucrative crop would help reduce poppy cultivation.

    Happy over the provision of saffron seeds, growers said if the pilot project yielded good results, it would leave a positive impact on their living standards.