Illegal Iranian saffron in the country raises concerns
Saffron producers in Herat province have voiced concerns over the practise of importing saffron from Iran, which they say lowers the price of the spice on local markets.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Abdul Shakoor, head of a saffron producing company, said they have over the years exported hundreds of kilograms of saffron annually but that there is a growing trend among traders to import the spice illegally from Iran.
“It is a betrayal to the nation,” said Abdul Shakoor.
This comes after producers recorded a 30 percent increase in saffron exports last year.
Herat saffron said they have not been able to prove that saffron is being smuggled from Iran into Afghanistan but said controls in this regard were lacking.
“Some amount of saffron might be imported from Iran and will be exported from Afghanistan, but it is very rare. Afghanistan produces saffron by itself and there is no need for Iranian saffron,” said Mohamad Uthman Ansari, head of exporters union.
“We are not able to prove [reports] who imports the saffron… one thing that we notice is poor management,” said Bashir Ahmad Rashidi, head of Afghanistan union.
The Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industry said bringing saffron into Afghanistan is illegal.
Spokesman for the ministry, Ahmad Fawad Ahmadi said this week that action would be taken against anyone who brings saffron into the country illegally adding that Afghanistan’s saffron is the best in the world.