Empowering Women through Saffron Cultivation
Women everywhere are great contributors to peace. Today, they play an active role in fighting off the on-going war by cultivating saffron instead of poppy – a crop which has partially fueled the war in Afghanistan.
Saffron also well-known for Afghan red gold, has earned an exceptional place and name in the international market. One Kilogram of the saffron harvest is $1,500 making it the most expensive crop on earth.
Therefore, the saffron business idea was introduced by Zardozi business trainers and Kadars to women attending the Ali Abad Manbeh in Mazar-e-sharif. Lajward who suddenly thought about the empty land at her backyard agreed to use it for harvesting saffron while also bringing two of her other friends into the team.“This is a very new idea. We will examine if our first year production was good, we will buy larger land than this,” said Sharifa, Lajward’s business partner.
Meanwhile, Mazar-e-sharif regional office Kadars held a meeting with Director of Balkh Agriculture Department to help Nisfe-Jahan members in this sector. On 15th of July, Balkh Agriculture Department gave 60kg Saffron to the women and promised for future cooperation. With some training from Kadar, Sharifa, Lajward and Khadija started to plant saffron seeds which will give results within timeline of one year.
Shaima who trained the group in this sector said, “If successful, the business will lead a good example for other women to cover their fields with beautiful purple flowers of saffron.” “It is a profitable business and many women across the country are already earning a substantial amount of money”, she added.
Zardozi and Nisfe-jahan helps women to consider different kinds of business ideas so that women have more options and higher chances of succeeding at what they choose.
Most of the women in the informal business sector might be unaware of the contribution they are making to the country’s economic prosperity and peace but that has been the mission all this time. More women have come to recognize the effect they have on change both on the family level and community level.
Khadija spoke in gratefulness and talked about how Zardozi became a changing point in her life. She was able to gain her power and respect at home as she currently runs all the finances and expenditure of her home.
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