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Coronavirus outbreak affects female farmers in Herat

AT News

KABUL: The Corona virus pandemic has greatly affected female farmers’ business in saffron in the western province of Herat, as the domestic and foreign demand for the precious herb.

Shafiqa Ataie, who started saffron cultivation 10 years ago in the Pashtoon Zarghoon district and made considerable profit, says that now there are very few customers to her products as she has become bankrupt.

“I have purchased 300 kilogram of saffron costing 15 million Afs. I still owe the farmers because I have only sold 15 kilograms of saffron. I am bankrupt and cannot afford to pay my laborers,” she said.

Herati farmers had a good time of saffron last year, some 17 tons of saffron was produced in Herat. The cost of saffron increased to 60,000 Afs per kilogram.

Significant profit of saffron, encouraged Sana Mohammadi, another lady to enter this business. She calls on the government to pave the ground for saffron exports in the Corona virus-related lockdown.

“If ladies are supported, they can work more and support their families and help to rescue the society form poverty,” she said.

Maryam Jami Ahmadi, head of chamber of women’s commerce, warns if the government doesn’t help saffron businesswomen, they would suffer great loss.

“80 per cent of saffron businesswomen suffered loss during the quarantine and 9,000 ladies lost their jobs. Totally, thee businesswomen lost 100 million Afs,” she said.

Women play vital role in the saffron business in Herat.
“Women run about 90 per cent of saffron business in Herat and men only work on its exports,” said Abdul Saboor Rahmani, head of provincial department of agriculture.

The Herat saffron is universally popular and has customers in the United States, Europe and Arabic countries.

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