Afghans consider poppy as saffron price drops

With saffron prices falling by 80 per cent due to a glut in Iran, farmers are considering an illicit alternative

Saffron is one of Afghanistan’s biggest cash crops, fetching top prices since it was first introduced to the mostly arid farmland 20 years ago.

But saffron first entered Afghanistan to keep farmers away from the country’s other top product – poppy harvested to make heroin.

With the key market in neighbouring Iran, where high quality Afghan saffron is repackaged as Iranian product, flooded, farmers say they might have to switch to poppy to make ends meet.

Haji Akbar, one such farmer, says he now fetches $1,000 for a kilo of saffron that he used to sell for five times as much.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports from Pashtun Zarghun.

Source : Al Jazeera

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