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    Saffron cultivation in Khost yields good results

    KHOST CITY (PAN): A pilot saffron cultivation project has yielded better results in southeastern Khost province than in western Herat, an official said on Sunday.

    A certain quantity of saffron sown in the province had given good yield, acting agriculture, irrigation and livestock director, Eng. Fazal Rahim, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    "Saffron cultivated over half an acre of land in Herat produced one kilogram, while we have 450 grams of yield from as much an area of land in Khost in just 15 days, " Rahim said.

    If they had planted the crop in time, the production level could have been up to 1.5kg, he believed.

    Farmers in Herat say saffron yield throughout the province was 1792 kg this year. The harvest was estimated at 125 million afghanis ($ 2.54 million).

    "Most of areas in Khost are rain-fed and suitable for saffron cultivation," the acting irrigation director said.  

    "A limited area of land in Khost is suitable for farming which can't meet the needs of growers," said Muhammad Rahim, another agriculture department official. If the government supported farmers and convinced them into sowing saffron, most of their problems would be resolved, he hoped.

    "If saffron cultivation becomes common, farmers can get more profit from a small piece of land," said Gulab Khan, a resident of Tanai district.

    Mirna Gul Taniwal, the Khost counternarcotics director, the province had once again been given a million US dollars in reconstruction funds in acknowledgement of bringing poppy cultivation to zero.