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Editorial: Saffron an alternative to poppy

As the majority of the Afghan people are relying on agriculture, the government and other related private originations, should have come to the fore to encourage farmers and educating them on saffron cultivation and its benefits after the harvest record high with this year 22 percent increase in the production. Afghanistan saffron has been recognized as the best in the world in terms of its quality for the eight consecutive years. The achievement made as still our farmers suffering from lack of enough standard agriculture and other facilities. Many experts believe that saffron could be a great alternative to poppy cultivation – a problem that national and international counter narcotic police struggle to overcome for years with no end sees in sight. Afghanistan holding both records at top—best in saffron cultivation and unfortunately, world’s largest producer of the substance, which is the main ingredient in heroin. Most of the Afghan formers say poppy cultivation is good in term of earning good amount of money. In addition to that, many of them claim that they cultivate poppy because of several types of challenges as the agriculture system in Afghanistan is deprived of standard mechanisms. These formers don’t have access to the modern agriculture equipments and thus they struggle to take beneficial advantages from their acres and forms. Moreover, the government has also not provided satisfied measures and methods for the domestic corps in the international markets. After months of hard working these formers scramble to take enough money from their products as the traders put a very low price on it. Somehow, they have to get rid of their corps because they don’t have enough facilities to keep their products safe. Afghan traders could help if they buy the corps with as low price as possible. To take a wise look at these challenges, the formers are kind of obliged to show interest in poppy harvest than any other yields because the drugs can bring them ample amount of money in a short time. But still hope is here. To reduce or to completely halt poppy cultivation, the Afghan government should launch agriculturally modernization project and provide standard mechanisms for the formers to persuade them for forming such unharmed corps like saffron, which can bring a good name for the country. Moreover, the government should launch public awareness programs about saffron crops. Thus, the formers would be persuaded to pay attention on cultivation of unharmed products, especially saffron with having high price in international markets. Saffron could be a great alternative to the poppy in Afghanistan.

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