Organic Growth: Taking Afghanistan’s Certified Saffron Value Chain to Scale

Saffron is a global, climate-resilient, gender-sensitive and high-value export commodity. The Afghan saffron export market is the third-largest in the world, holding 8.8% of global volume, and the saffron exports business is growing bigger by the year. With the right investment and marketing, Afghanistan is positioned to become a major player in the global market for saffron. Hand in Hand, and its commercial partner Conflictfood, aim to establish and scale the first-ever line of certified organic saffron produced and processed in Afghanistan.

Sustainable production of saffron answers three major challenges in Afghanistan. Firstly, it is a legal alternative to the cultivation of opium poppy fueled by lack of livelihood and income opportunities. Secondly, saffron is climate-resilient as it does not require heavy irrigation. It is therefore an ideal crop for the climate change scenarios for Afghanistan, which include increased frequency and intensity of drought. Lastly, the saffron value chain requires labour-intensive post-harvest processing. It is therefore an engine of rural job creation, especially for women and youth who often engage in these activities. The project will contribute to improved livelihoods and unlock new markets, by responding to the growing international demand and by recognising the climate-resilient and labour-intensive nature of saffron.


Administrative Partner Hand in Hand International
Key Commercial Partner Conflictfood
Other Partners Hand in Hand Afghanistan
Country Afghanistan
Sector Agriculture & agro-processing
Open / Closed Open
Duration July 2021 - July 2026
Approval Year 2020