First 'saffron certificates' issued in Tarin Kowt

Eleven Uruzganis who have completed a saffron cultivation course were issued with certificates yesterday by Colonel Nico Geerts, Commandant of the Uruzgan Task Force.

Their next step will be to train 125 farmers to cultivate saffron, and jointly plant 25 hectares. This project is part of Dutch rural development policy in Uruzgan, which seeks to encourage farmers to cultivate legal crops rather than poppies.

The joint venture involves GSE Afghan Ltd and two local NGOs. It is co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is also providing development experts to advise on the process of reconstruction in Uruzganā€™s southern province. Growing saffron is an attractive option for farmers, because it is just as lucrative as poppy cultivation without the risks of an illegal crop.