Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Saffron Baba: Saffron Needs Less Water, Work Than Poppy

Saffron Baba: Saffron Needs Less Water, Work Than Poppy

KANDAHAR CITY - Haji Gul Mohammad, 60-year old, who is also known as Saffron Baba in Khakrez district of southern Kandahar province, says saffron crop requires less water and labor and gives satisfactory yield compared to poppy.
Haji Gul Mohammad aka Saffron Baba was the first man who cultivated saffron and promoted the crop cultivation in the province.
Currently, besides Saffron Baba, a number of other people also cultivate saffron in the province.
Saffron Baba told Pajhwok Afghan News in an inclusive interview that he shared the seed of saffron with some farmers and taught them how to cultivate it in their lands. He said saffron was giving satisfactory yield to these farmers.
When asked why people call him Saffron Baba, he said because he did a lot for promoting saffron in the province, something the agriculture department and relevant NGOs despite having enough facilities did not do.
He said preciously he would cultivate poppy in his farm fields but later started cultivating saffron.
He said before switching to saffron from poppy, had only heard the name of saffron and he did not know how it was cultivated.
Gul Mohammad added: “I once asked my relatives in Pakistan to send me some amount of saffron and then I started learning how to cultivate it. First I received 25 kilograms of saffron seed and cultivated on my land.”
He said some of his villagers were laughing at him as he cultivated saffron because they were not much familiar with the new crop.
He divided his land among family members and cultivated saffron on 2.5 acres of his land.
In the past when people were not much familiar with saffron he sold one kilogram of saffron for 8,000 afghanis but now as people were quite familiar with saffron’s worth, he sold one kilogram for 70,000-80,000 afghanis.
Saffron Baba said he collected three to four kilograms of saffron from each acre of his land which produced a satisfactory yield.
He said so far he had sold saffron seed among dozens of farmers of other districts and given them advice regarding saffron cultivation.
He said saffron required less water and labor and gave satisfactory yield compared to poppy and as a result people started cultivating saffron on more land.
As part of his efforts to promote saffron cultivation, he visited western Herat and some others provinces to share his experience with other farmers.
Most farmers have Saffron Baba’s number and they contact him when need information while cultivating saffron.
Around 90 farmers have been distributed 45 kilograms of saffron seed each by the MC NGO in Khakriz district.
The Saffron Baba says Kandahar weather is suitable for saffron cultivation and even he is told Kandahar saffron is better than Herat one.
Satisfied with the production level, he urged the government to find a suitable market for their saffron.
Meanwhile, the provincial agriculture department head said they had distributed 20 tons saffron seed among farmers for promoting the lucrative crop across the province. (Pajhwok)