Monday, December 15, 2014

Saffron - Hope for Afghan Farmers

Afghanistan's future from an economic perspective is bleak. The cost of maintaining large security forces to fight the insurgents is overwhelming and far exceeds the revenue of the Afghan government from taxes and other sources of income. International aid is starting to diminish and it is apparent that the Afghan ministries have not mastered the art of governance to the extent that the aid that will still be offered will be used effectively. In fact, corruption remains the number one problem when it comes to governance and government services. One hope is that the agricultural sector of Afghanistan will rebound - and that is where firms like one from Massachusetts can assist. A group of Afghan War veterans from the Boston area (many whom attend or attended Harvard University) have started a small business that imports and sells saffron - a very high quality spice. The firm, called Rumi Spice, connects Afghan saffron farmers with American spice markets. Saffron is one of the few crops that Afghan farmers can grow which yield greater profits than poppies (drug trade). Read more in "Afghanistan's future lies with small farmers", The Boston Globe, December 14, 2014.

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