Herat Saffron is a top quality saffron brand started producing saffron as the first company in Afghanistan. In 2003, Herat Saffron introduced saffron as an alternative crop to illegal opium production with a very big margin on comparative advantage with a focus on economic sustainability of target communities and a promise to women’s economic and social empowerment. Working with both vintage and organic materials for the production of saffron, the aim is to give new life to traditional societies long dependent on either illegal or low-income crops. Herat Saffron aims to also develope new creative products in partnership with renowned companies worldwide. Our company pay fair wages, fund social capacity building activities and support local initiatives.
In 2007, Herat Saffron produced around 10 kilogram of saffron, having no possibility to sell to the international customers. Air cargo, institutions and institutional requirements such as the letter of origin was non-existent in Afghanistan. You have produced a precious commodity that may have good customers, but how could we deliver? We approached the US Embassy in Kabul telling them the story. They promised that if we find a customer and make a deal, they will help us with shipping to the US. Luckily we managed to secure a deal, with a condition to be paid after delivery and once the customer is satisfied with the quality. Taking the risk, we sent the shipment through the US Embassy’s diplomatic cargo and luckily got paid. Since then, we came a long way. We are now partners with some of the world’s most renown brands and are exporting around 5.5 MT (and increasing) pure Afghan saffron. Our saffron is now rated as the top quality product for 7 consequent years at International Taste & Quality Institute- Brussels. We managed to achieve consistency and persistency in improving the quality of our product. We are also capable of performing quick and guaranteed delivery dates. Herat Saffron is also offering retail packing for customers who have packaging requirements.
Herat Saffron produces around 14 percent of it’s annual sales of around 5.5 MT on it’s own farms and outsources the rest of the production through local communities and by community owned and Herat Saffron empowered cooperatives.
In most instances, Herat Saffron acts as a bridge between local producers and customers across the globe with marginal profits to ensure sustainability. We are always on the lookout for new partnerships to build upon the progress.
In other words, what Herat Saffron is doing is beyond a simple profit oriented business concept, it’s about thinking long term. Its about building resilient societies that are also promoting values such as equality and justice. In societies where Herat Saffron has introduced saffron as an alternative crop, we also managed to promote women socio-economic empowerment and provide them with employment opportunities that never existed before. Women learned to do business and to defend their rights while trading of their commodities. They learned to increase their role and profit and to think long-term investment. The men on the other hand learned to live in harmony with empowered women. Let’s don’t forget that we are talking about a very traditional society. The difference and the impact we made has been natural in nature and gradual in it’s pace, providing us an opportunity to do build upon it and prevent the initiation of resistance and outrage. The difference has extended it’s root to other sphere of life in these societies. As an example, in Ghoryan district, a relatively remote village in a western province of Afghanistan has a women run radio station, women based TV programs and several female candidates running for the district and provincial councils. That’s probably what Afghanistan needs the most. The socio-economic empowerment of women also has another contribution to the long-term well being of the society.
Empowered women grow healthier, literate child’s and a more educated next generation. Educated both in terms of school education, but also in terms of social behavior and concepts of equality of men and women.