Hand in Hand’s saffron project attains vital ISO certification

02 Oct 2023

A pioneering initiative to lift saffron farmers in Afghanistan out of poverty has hit a new milestone, with producers involved in the project successfully securing ISO certification. The certification not only signifies compliance with international standards but, crucially, gives the product a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

Funded by Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Danida Market Development Partnerships Programme, the Organic Growth project aims to develop Afghanistan’s saffron value chain, creating jobs and tackling poverty.

Over the last few years, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has become more severe, with the World Food Programme (WFP) estimating more that more than a third of the country’s population is facing food insecurity. The Organic Growth project targets rural areas in the Herat province, where jobs are scarce, and is set to reach 3,000 farmworkers and processors.

Hand in Hand Afghanistan Executive Director, Dr Kamran Hekmati, said: “Five independent saffron companies who are taking part in the project have been awarded ISO 22000, which is a tremendous achievement and means the saffron they produce can now be sold on the international market, commanding a higher price. That money will directly benefit farmers in some of the country’s most deprived rural communities, so families can afford safe housing, medicine and put food on the table.”