An increasing flow of Iranian saffron into Afghan markets has affected the prices of Herat saffron, local investors the National Association of Saffron said.
The order of President Ghani to ban the illegal import of saffron from Iran has remained on paper, said Bashir Ahmad Rashidi head of the National Association of Saffron.
He called on government to prevent illegal import of saffron to Afghanistan and boost the market for domestic products.
“We have also problems in the export of saffron besides that our efforts are affected by the illegal import of saffron. We do not have access to the world’s markets,” said Rashidi.
One kilogram of saffron is sold for AFs50,000 in local markets it was it was AFs100,000 last year.
Investors said government has not provided enough assistance to help them send the Afghan saffron to international markets.
“I have collected lots of saffron in my house with the hope to export them one day. But if I cannot export them, I have to sell them to someone else,” said Maliha Shams, a saffron producer.
“While saffron is a good product and an alternative to poppy, but government is not paying attention in promoting the product,” said Abdul Razaq, a saffron producer.
Babur Enayat, head of Herat’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries said a number of saffron producers in the province have not gained the official export license for exporting saffron, therefore, they do not have access to international markets.
“We are working with the relevant organizations for processing and packaging saffron and also we are in contact with the countries which purchase Afghanistan’s saffron,” said Enayat.
Herat saffron is famous for its good quality in international markets. Statistics show that at least 10,000 acres of land is cultivated with saffron across the country, mainly in Herat.