Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock said on Tuesday that the ministry will distribute about one ton of saffron bulbs to farmers in all 34 provinces in order to boost cultivation of the globally sought after spice.
“This year we decided to increase saffron cultivation from a few provinces to all provinces and to increase training of farmers so we can export Afghanistan saffron to Europe,” said Lotfullah Rashid a ministry spokesman.
Afghan saffron was recently ranked the world’s best saffron – for the third year in a row.
Meanwhile, farmers and saffron sellers have asked government officials to support the expansion of saffron cultivation in the country.
“Saffron production is limited in the country, however we have good quality saffron and more people are interested in buying saffron. At the moment saffron prices are very high and if the cultivation increases the price will also decrease,” said Hikmatullah Azimi a saffron seller.
According to the ministry officials last year saffron crops harvested totalled 4,000 Kg and they are trying to increase the number this year.
The ministry said that effective programs to educate farmers in the provinces are underway and they will also help with advanced machinery to help in the harvesting process.
This move comes shortly after the International Taste & Quality Institute in the Belgian, Brussels once again named Afghanistan’s saffron as the best in the world, after sampling some 300 samples.
This is the third year that the institute has awarded Afghanistan the prestigious title.