Saffron yield reaches 1,792 kg in Herat
HERAT CITY (PAN): Saffron yield in western Herat province reached 1,792 kilograms this year, registering a 300-kg increase, compared to last year, a leader of growers said on Monday.
The Saffron Growers Council head said the increase in harvest happened despite cold weather conditions affecting the crop. The 1,792-kg yield accounted for about 125 million afghanis ($2.5 million), Bashir Ahmad Rashidi told Pajhwok Afghan News.
"A recent cold spell reduced saffron production by 20 to 35 percent in Ghoryan district. Still it is high compared to last year's yield." He said 560 hectares of farmland was cultivated with saffron in the province.
Rashidi urged the government to make efforts at finding access to the international market.
Agriculture department head Bashir Ahmad Ahmadi said a laboratory would be established as part of efforts to jack up saffron production. They were also trying to find market for the crop.
Farmer Mohammad Ibrahim, a resident of Pashtun Zarghoon district, said good yield for two consecutive years had inspired him to grow saffron on 19 acres of land in Injil district this year.
However, he said farmers could not fix the rate for their products and lacked access to market. "The price is uncertain and the government is doing nothing to find market for our products," he complained.
Rashidi said currently one kilogram of saffron -- an expensive plant used to flavour and colour food -- was priced at 70,000afs and a hike was expected.
Saffron grows best in warm sub-tropical climates. Its cultivation needs a warm climate, hot and dry weather in summer, but cold in winter. The land must be dry and flat.
Saffron blooms in November and December, and is usually harvested before the sunrise. Herat is one of Afghanistan's leading saffron-growing provinces.
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