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National Saffron Flower Festival kicks off in Herat

National Saffron Flower Festival kicks off in Herat

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Nov 13, 2017 - 19:44

HEART CITY (Pajhwok): The Third National Saffron Flower Festival was held in western Herat province on Monday, with officials expecting a surge in saffron production in the province this year in comparison to the past years.

Abdul Sammad Rahmani, the provincial Agricultureinfo-icon, Livestock and Irrigation Director, said he was happy about the increased area of cultivation of saffron, saying that this year 3,500 hectares of land was cultivated with saffron in Heart compared to the 2,540 hectares last year.

“We organized two saffron flower festivals in the last two years, we celebrate the third festival this year and we are happy we would collect more than 8.5 tons of saffron this year,” he said.

Rahmani said that Heart traders earned over $13 million in domestic and foreign markets from saffron business last year and the farmers hoped that they would earn more from their saffron sales this year.

He added that the saffron from Heart has a unique place in the international markets and the product is currently being exported to India, Singapore, China, Germany, and the US along with some Arab countries.

The Governor of Herat Mohammad Asif Rahimi called the province the capital of saffron in the country, and added saffron was grown in 20 provinces across Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Bashir Ahmad Rashidi, head of Afghanistan Saffron Association, expressed his concerns over the exportation of low-quality saffron under the name of Afghanistan and asked the concerned officials to closely watch the export process.

“There is no doubt that Iran saffron is first imported to Afghanistan and then exported to other countries which damages the reputation of Afghanistan saffron products, we should be careful in this regard,” he said.

Meanwhile, a number of farmers who put their saffron flowers on display in the festival were happy for collecting increased harvest this year.

Abdul KhaliqKhudadi, a saffron farmer, said, “We collected the crops in higher amounts this year. I personally collected double amount of saffron this year compared to the last year.”

According to the saffron farmers in Heart, the price for a kilogram of saffron ranges between 80,000 Afghanis and 100,000 Afghanis.

mds

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