Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) on Sunday said this year they plan to help farmers cultivate 3,000 acres of saffron in the country.
According to MAIL officials, they will distribute 500 tons of saffron bulbs to farmers who will harvest up to eight tons of saffron this year.
Afghanistan has been recognized as one of the best saffron producing countries in the world.
Saffron planting season starts in about a month.
“The agriculture ministry has taken steps to promote and increase saffron production and according to our estimates, we will increase saffron production to eight tons,” MAIL spokesman, Lotfullah Rashid said.
Currently one kilogram of saffron is sold on the open market for up $1,000 USD and that the high price has encouraged farmers to cultivate more saffron.
A number of farmers meanwhile criticized government for not helping them in promoting saffron cultivation.
A saffron farmer, Abdul Naqib, has been growing saffron for five years and this year planted 200kgs of bulbs. He said if government helps him, he can cultivate more saffron.
“We seriously need the help of the agriculture ministry, but unfortunately the agriculture cooperative in our district does not have access to our village and we receive no help from them,” said Abdul Naqib.
MAIL said they have established a standard laboratory in western Herat province to test the quality of saffron cultivated in the country.