Saffron to Replace Poppy

17 July 2014
According to the Agriculture Development Department, it is expected that 5,000 ton saffron will be harvested in 32 provinces of Afghanistan this year. In recent years, the country has witnessed a tangible interest in saffron cultivation.
Known for its high quality in the world market and with the price of 100,000 Afghanis per kg, saffron is considered the best alternative for poppy cultivation in the county. For this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) has started to undertake agricultural exhibitions to further promote saffron among farmers. Agriculture experts assert that the government should cooperate with those interested in saffron production in order to further expand the production country-wide.
"Saffron needs very little water and all members of a family can contribute to its cultivation. It also provides good income for the family," agriculture expert Syed Nabil Shinwari said. "The herb is significant for the economic sector; the government must work on expanding its production."
Considering that Afghanistan constitutes as the world's largest producer of opium, the shift to the production of saffron--one of the best alternatives to poppy-- is majorly significant for the country.