Jun 18, 2012

Afghan Farmers Try Their Hands At Growing Saffron

Did you know that Afghanistan is the leading producer of Poppy in the world?  They grow 90% of the world's supply of this opiate and so far have cleaned out 99% of it out of the country.   However, things have begun to change. They have switched to growing saffron instead.  Farmers in Herat, Western Afghanistan, say not only does saffron fetch more profit than poppy but they have also found an enticing way to market it. It is packaged in beautiful little tins or what look like perfume bottles. The farmers are hoping the government will do even more to help Afghan saffron become  known worldwide.  Do you think that maybe the price will eventually come down?  Two grams is only $8.00 there, while I paid that much for 1/2 gram of the spice here in the states. However, I don't see a trip to Afghanistan in the near future. Selling opium goes against a Muslim's religious beliefs (or most other religions for those who are moral) and the selling of saffron has created jobs for women. Creating jobs for women is the most encouraging news that I have heard from Afghanistan. If a father makes enough money to be able to educate his daughters is a good thing too. All that needs to happen now is to find a way to process and package the saffron so that it can be shipped to various parts of the world. Afghan farmers hope the obstacles they face will disappear as they eye the world markets where the deep red spice can fetch thousands of dollars per pound.