Afghan concern over saffron price drop

Farmers in western Afghanistan say that saffron prices have declined sharply over the past year, raising fears that some may resume opium cultivation.

Saffron has been promoted as an alternative to opium and a profitable crop for farmers.

But growers in the province of Herat, which borders Iran, told BBC Pashto that prices have dropped by up to 60% as supply has outstripped demand.

Afghanistan, in particular Herat, has the ideal climate for growing saffron.

Afghan officials say that last year Herat produced more than two-and-a-half tonnes of saffron. This year they expect more than three-and-a-half tonnes to be produced.

Last year pure saffron sold at $4,500 (£2,787) per kilo but now that price stands at $1,500. The high prices of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, has benefited cultivators around the world over the years.

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