The prices of Afghanistan’s saffron have gone up by $400 in each kilogram in local markets after the exports of the spice to international markets have seen a dramatic increase, a local investor said.
Afghanistan harvested at least 14 tons of saffron last year and the amount is expected to increase this year, according to statistics by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.
Figures by the National Saffron Union, a private sector organization, show that the price of each kilogram of saffron in local markets was AFs40,000 (almost $500) 10 months ago but now it has increased to AFs70,000 (at least $900).
According to officials, one of the main reasons behind the increase in saffron exports is the inauguration of air corridors between Afghanistan and India as well as China and Turkey.
“The hike in the saffron prices is because of an increase in the exports of the spice,” said Nasir Azimi, member of the union.
Afghanistan has exported at least 16 tons of saffron, worth up to $25 million, to different countries in less than a year, said Akbar Rustami, a spokesman for Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.
“Of the 16 tons of saffron in 1397 (March 2018 to March 2019), at least 90 percent of it has been exported to various countries,” Rustami said. “This show that Afghanistan’s saffron has a good place in the regional and international markets.”
Experts said the Iranian saffron has affected the Afghan saffron market in regional countries.
“Iran is the world’s largest saffron producer and it wants to provide conditions for ‘illegal export’ of saffron to different countries through any route in order to dominate the world markets,” said Shafi Samim, a Kabul-based analyst.
Figures by the Ministry of Agriculture show that Afghanistan is the third biggest saffron producer in the world after Iran and India.
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock said that the United Arab Emirates has shown interest to purchase saffron from Afghanistan after President Ghani’s trip to the Arab nation late in March.