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Afghanistan breaks ground for first ever saffron institute

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Construction of Afghanistan’s first ever saffron institute that will promote cultivation of saffron began on Wednesday with a ground-breaking ceremony in the western province of Herat.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Nasir Ahmad Durani formally launched the construction of the Saffron Institute which will be built with a cost of Afs 58.8 million by the end of next year.

Durani said the institute will be the first of its kind in Afghanistan in terms of modern equipment, which will be operating for academic assessment, proliferation, policymaking and marketing of saffron.

All segments from cultivation, generating to marketing will be converged by the institute, he added.         

Mr. Durani said that this institute will play vital role in process, promulgation, assessment, marketing and increasing of saffron.

The institute will help the ministry in implementing the five years plan for the saffron as well, he mentioned.

He elaborated before saffron harvest of Herat reported 12 tons, but fortunately in a fresh house to hose survey it revealed that the province saffron reached to over 15 tons this year.

Minister said that saffron cultivation lands increased to 30,000 acres, so significant raise of saffron is good news for Herat and Afghanistan economic.

He said that goo progresses have been taken place in the aspect of selling of Afghan saffron to turkey and it due another big source will be established for this precious yield.

Meanwhile Deputy Governor for Herat Mohaiudin Noori said that Herat saffron increased 100 percent this year.

He said that saffron harvest was seven tons in 1396 solar year, but it has been increased to over 15 tons this year.

Pointing to selling of saffron to Turkey, he highlighted that Turkey will purchase Afghan saffron with the international standards and will export it under the name of Afghanistan saffron.

Confirming the progress in the aspect of selling of Afghanistan saffron to Turkey, Turkey’s coordinating aide to Afghanistan, Dr. Ali Chenar, said that before we have purchased saffron from Spain, but after this due to high quality and economic facility we purchase saffron from Afghanistan.   

Saffron has been cultivated in more than 30,000 acres of land in 33 provinces, with Herat, Faryab, Kandahar, Balkh, Sar-e-Pul and Farah provinces taking the lead as saffron producing provinces.

As an alternative to illicit drugs, not only does saffron production create an advantage for agricultural and thus economic sustainability, its expansion and promotion is deemed to have indelible imprints on security situation. And as a profitable plant, it will elevate earnings of farmers, propping up their self-reliance and eventually creating a detachment from opium production.

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