Herat set to produce more than 4 tonnes of saffron
HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): During the first-ever saffron festival, officials on Wednesday said western Herat province would produce more than four tonnes of the crop this year.
Over 50 saffron farmer unions and companies displayed their produce in different packagesat the festival in the Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi hall in Herat City.
Director of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Faqir Ahmad Bayangar told Pajhwok Afghan News the festival had been organised to give farmers instructionson saffron cultivation.
He said international marketing of the crop, dealing with challenges to saffron cultivation and trade in the spice were other major objectives behind the event -- the first of its kind in Afghanistan.
Nearly 1000 hectares of land has been cultivated with the saffron crop in Herat and this year’syield had been projected at more than four tonnes, the director added.
“Ninety percent of the saffron crop in Afghanistan is grown in Herat,which exports dozens of tonnes to other provinces. Herat growers are ready to go to other provinces to train farmers there on how to cultivate saffron,” he continued.
Currently, 30 unions, 25 saffron-producing companies are active in Herat.“Last year, more than three tonnes of saffron spice was produced in the province,” he said, putting the price of one kilogram of saffron at 120,000 afghanis nearly ($2000).
Chairman of National Saffron Association and Director of Aryana Saffron Company Bashir Ahmad Rashidi welcomed the festival in Herat.
“There is no problem in saffron packaging, but ISO certificationand quality-testing lab are major issues for us,” he said.
Azita Suleman Shahi, chairperson of the saffron union in PashtunZarghoon district, hoped such events would help popularise Afghanistan’scrop.
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