Afghanistan's Saffron On Media

                               Afghan Saffron, Leading in Production, Outstanding Quality


Moh. Hashim Aslami

Saffron Development Senior Advisor

MAIL, Kabul Afghanistan


            Afghanistan is the 3rd largest saffron producer’s country in the world, which is the major economic achievement of the national unity government by result of the planning, support and investment, Ministry of Agriculture, irrigation and livestock in the saffron industry in the 2018.

Currently, worldwide around 30 countries have been cultivating saffron (1) Iran is the 1st with 336 tons last year, India ranked 2nd with 22 tons, Afghanistan with a production of 10/6 tons in the 3rd place, Greece with a production of 6 tons in 4th place, Morocco with a production of 2.6 tons in the 5th position, Spain with a production of 3.2 tons in the 6th rank and Italy in a production of 1 ton have 7th position in world. The according to the BBC, total value of saffron production in the global economy is estimated 8 billion dollar at present Afghanistan’s share of this total value is about 12 million dollar (4).


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Saffron productin in afghanistan


Worldwide considering increasing use of saffron as a natural flavoring and cosmetic ingredient for food and medicine, economics experts predict that the global market for this product will also expand dramatically.

Price of saffron over the past 16 year comparison has shown that the price of this product has increase so that the price of saffron in 2000 with a cultivated area of about 60000 hectares are production of 196 tons, each kilogram averaged 200 dolor, while in 2017, with an increasing in the cultivated area about 120,000 hectares (5) and production of about 377 tons, its value has increase to around 1,600 dolor (6) The economic value to see of saffron for the Afghanistan is due to its extension in 31 provinces, employment of some 11,000 households, creation of about 6,000 permanent jobs and income of at least 18 million dolor’s in this year ,as well as a comparison with water use (as per cubic meter of water for one gram of saffron which produces a price of about  2 dolor, 10 kg of saffron corn is also produced at the same time which if we consider the average price per kg of  4 dolor, will reach total price to  6 dolor, while with the same amount of water a kilogram wheat 6 kg of potato  and 6.5 kg of lelabo are produced which costs for less than one gram of saffron and 10 kg of saffron corn (8). Saffron Compared to other agricultural products it reflects the fact that it is worth more attention and investment.

The unreliable incensement in the annual production of saffron in Afghanistan over the past two years from 3,500 kg to around 10600 kg (7) it could be indicative of the growth of agricultural production in Afghanistan but given that saffron is a commodity that is expensive and most of the food cosmetics and pharmaceuticals the nature of the raw material is used,

Therefore its customer is often the citizens and industries of the developed countries of the world. The question now that whether Afghanistan's saffron exports to saffron demand countries due to the presence of experienced rivals with better facilities such as Iran, United Arab Emirates and Hispania high standards and regulations for importing food products in Countries that demand saffron on the other hand will not face a serious challenge?
Leading in production:

The 5-year national plan for sustainable development of saffron approval in the high council of Economy its launch in this year, over the next five cultivation of saffron is expected to reach 4,000 hectares with production 14 tons and incoming 12 year will be reach to 70 to 100 tons and saffron export by name of Afghanistan to foreign countries.

Currently, more than 90% of saffron production operations in the world are executed by hands or non-manually.  The high hands in European countries, the production level has dropped dramatically.
The production of has product  dropped from 25 tons to 2.3 tons in region of lamanchai, Hispania in past year which is the birthplace of ( Don Quixote) hero of the (Cervantes) the 20,000 households cultivating saffron in the 80 only 400 families remain (9) so Afghanistan has the advantage and superiority in saffron producing of its abundant and cheap labor. Development country has shown that process of development focusing by development of agriculture sector.
In other hand, developed countries have begun their won agricultural development process to produce those products that are user-friendly and cultivate at the household level to promote product levels.
This experience has been shown since the 2nd World War in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan which in the 1st steps has sparked agricultural development and in the ensuing steps has provided industrial development in these countries.
Afghanistan grows up agriculture sector by inverting in production and processing such as saffron product on the other hand substantial income for the households.                                                                                                                                                                                    
The production of saffron in Afghanistan on the other hand could open up as an alternative to poppy cultivation in the most suitable climate of the provinces’ 
And to establish a legitimate economy income instead of an illegitimate economy that has social, political and economic consequences.
In addition to the above, climate change less requirement of water in summer season easy transportation due to low weight ability to carry out 80 percent of the work done by women and other family member, creating opportunity  of field work for unemployment people in (October and November) resistance to diseases and insects,  lack of annual need for buckthorns, land preparation and planting operations, interest of farmers and private sector actors in the cultivation of this crop due to the high income of the leading pioneers of Afghanistan in production Saffron is counted. 

While 5-year plan predicted increase of saffron cultivation was 4,000 hectare but fortunately at the end of the 1st year cultivation to more than 5,000 hectares.

Unrivaled in quality
According to the laboratories of saffron  Afghanistan has the best quality due to its favorable climate, which has been selected for three consecutive years as the best saffron among the world's, top 300 types of saffron from different countries of the world by the International Institute for Quality Assurance and Food Quality in Brussels, the reason for verifying this claim but This high-quality product in the field of export and marketing faces serious challenges, because saffron is one of the agricultural products that needs to be processed after harvesting.
The process of saffron like separating product from flowering, drying and packaging which fulfills the criteria of determining the quality and final value of it. Unfortunately lack of the standardized processing center, unawareness of producers to high level processing, lack of information of exporters on the international standards of saffron packaging that is accepted by the high quality needed countries, the failure to observe health issues, lack of facilities for certification of quality assurance of saffron, the unofficial transportation of saffron by travelers without quality control, lack of professional experts and facilities to control the quality of saffron in airports  and customs centers, lack of adequate attention to women's work capacity building  which are 80% employees women in saffron processing, lack of financial resources ,facilities Companies producing, and exporting saffron, Less knowledge lack of specific procedures for export of saffron and lack of identification of target markets are among the major challenges in saffron exports for Afghanistan. Considering of growth of saffron production in Afghanistan is more than the growth of processing capacity and export development, Ministry of Agriculture intends in the following years to address the problems of the process of saffron by investing more in processing, standardization and packaging of saffron the saffron export challenges also necessary to solve.It should be noted that if the current trend of increasing saffron production in the country continues on the other hand does not work on the value creation and standardization of production to supply the world markets it will cause the price of Afghan saffron in domestic and international markets to decrease sharply. If growing outside the country does not demand external production and does not improve the quality and packaging of saffron, the price of saffron in the national and international market will be reduced then will be a major loss for the farmers.
Afghan saffron contracts!
The Afghan government is trying to sign new contracts with other countries to export saffron. The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has signed a new contract with China to export saffron  is working to implement a regular marketing program in the region of world for saffron in Afghanistan, in line with the National Strategy for Saffron sponsored by the ITC, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce have been contracted to other countries. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock also intends to carry out the following measures in order to standardize the processing and packaging of saffron in accordance with international standards for the development of the international saffron market in Afghanistan: