Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, July 20th, 2018

ACCI Says There is an Urgent Need to Boost Saffron Sector

ACCI Says There is an Urgent Need to Boost Saffron Sector

KABUL - Ministry of Agriculture said Afghanistan cultivates eight tons of saffron every year but that it has the capacity to produce up to 100 tons.
Following reports about a dramatic increase in saffron cultivation and processing in parts of the country, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Thursday said there is an urgent need to expand the sector in order to meet the export demand.
ACCI figures show that export volumes of 1.5 tons currently – to China, India, Arab nations, US and European countries - will rise to five tons a year in the near future.
“There is a bigger market (for Afghan saffron). The demand is high, but our production is low. The production should increase. We are committed to getting Afghan saffron to world markets and to do marketing for it and sell it at a good price,” ACCI spokesman Siyam Psarlai said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), saffron production has increased by more than 30 percent in the country in the past year.
MAIL figures show that the areas under saffron cultivation rose to more than 3,500 hectares this year and that it is expected that farmers will harvest over eight tons of saffron.
“Our production is improving. Last year, 2,500 hectares of land was cultivated with saffron while this year it is expected that this amount will rise to 3,500 hectares. Last year, at least six tons of saffron was processed while this year we foresee more than eight tons (being processed) so that we become the top producers of saffron in the world,” MAIL’s senior advisor Mohammad Hashim Aslami said.
Meanwhile, investors said saffron production in the country is less than other countries that also export the product. They said this has affected the Afghan saffron price on international markets.
According to investors, one kilogram of processed saffron is sold this year for 90,000 AFs, down from 130,000 AFs last year.
“Afghanistan has a small share in the world market. International saffron prices affect the prices in Afghanistan, therefore the saffron prices have decreased due to the change in prices on world markets,” said Barakatullah Rahmati, head of Herat Saffron Company.
The agriculture ministry said Afghanistan has the capacity to produce up to 100 tons of saffron eventually.   (Tolonews)