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President Ghani bans saffron imports

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani has announced a ban on imports of saffron and its bulb in an effort to maintain the global stance, quality and value of Afghan saffron.

The decision was made following a proposition by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL).

Last year’s imports and smuggling of saffron and its bulb to the country have bedeviled expansion of saffron cultivations and exports abroad, said a statement carried by the agriculture ministry.

“Smuggling and imports of saffron severely affected the extension of saffron cultivation and its significant achievements in the country,” it asserted. “That will also lead to a dissuasion of farmers in cultivating saffron.”

National Union of Saffron also had suggested restriction before saffron importation during recent meeting with President Ghani, noted statement.

MAIL claims that importation saffron and its bulb will lead to reduction in Afghan saffron cost as well as will cause spreading of diseases.

Afghanistan saffron has gained the first position based on quality, so importation of foreign saffron and its bulb will cause exportation of low quality saffron under the name of Afghanistan to abroad, which will mar the well-known quality of the saffron, mentioned the statement.

It is pertained to mention that the MAIL has increased saffron production from 3.5 tons to 10.6 tons as well as rose cultivation area of saffron from 1050 hectares to 5,250 hectares across the country in the past two years.

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