Afghan saffron by AFP photographer Aref Karimi

Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, some of which is farmed in western Afghanistan, requires a lot of land and labour for cultivation. In Herat, about 6,000 people, 4,000 of them women, are employed to work on 800 acres of land cultivating the product which is then exported to India, Europe, the United States and China.

Saffron contains chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. It is commonly used as a flavoring base and coloring agent in both food and drinks in Mediterranean, Asian and Arabic cuisines.

Photo edit by Fatima Al Marzouqi

Published: December 24, 2014 04:00 AM