Saffron prices fall in local markets: Investors

KABUL (Tolo News): Investors say the saffron prices hall fallen by 50% in local markets over the last year, affecting businessmen and farmers’ interest in growing and selling the plant. The national saffron association said the government has not paid the required attention to the sector.
According to investors, the prices of each kilogram of saffron have fallen to 30,000 Afs ($380) in local markets. “There has been a 50% drop in the prices in one year which has discouraged the farmers,” said Abdul Razaq Mohammadi, a saffron trader. “More focus should be paid on countries that buy saffron like Arab nations and European countries. Meanwhile, more facilities should be provided along with further marketing for the product,” said Bashir Ahmad Rashidi, head of the national association of saffron producers.
But the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said many countries are interested in buying the Afghan saffron and that the exports will soon begin. “Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Europe, Arab nations, all are ready to buy Afghan Saffron,” a spokesman of the ministry, Nisar Ahmad Faizi, said. “We are working on a major plan to open three permanent exhibitions in the United States.” According to government figures, over 20 tons of saffron was harvested in Herat last year.
Head of Herat Agriculture Directorate Bashir Ahmad Ahmadi assured that more saffron bulbs should be distributed to farmers this year. “We will produce more saffron this year compared to the last year,” he said. At least 90 types of saffron are cultivated in Herat. Official figures show that over 20,000 people are families are engaged in saffron business in Herat in which women have a bigger role.