QALA-E-NAW, Afghanistan, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A saffron processing center was recently built in the western Baghis province, as the precious plant cultivation is gradually expanding across the mostly poppy growing and conflict-battered country, said a statement of the Ministry for Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) released here Sunday.
The processing center with a capacity of up to 48 kg processing saffron per 24 hours, is equipped with modern facilities, including automatic drying device, special flat-tables for sorting, leveling and cleaning, microscopic devices used to separate unwanted objects from the saffron, the statement added.
"Construction of the saffron processing center in Badghis province helps produce and offer quality and standard-based saffron to the market," said the statement.
Previously the saffron processing centers were operational in Herat which produced 14 tons of the precious plant last year and the ministry for agriculture is hopeful that the saffron product reaches 20 tons in 2019.
Afghan saffron, according to officials have already found its way to markets in China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Afghan farmers are now optimistic for having saffron as an alternative plant to the low-price and distasteful poppy opium, in the poverty stricken nation.