Fri, 24 Mar 2023

Provided by Xinhua

by Sanaa Kamal

RAMALLAH, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Jaber Bani Taha, a Nablus-based Palestinian, has succeeded in leaving a mark in saffron cultivation as he was the first-ever farmer who planted saffron in the West Bank.

"I came up with the idea to grow saffron in 2012 when I watched a number of documentary films that showed its benefits for people's health," the 46-year-old farmer told Xinhua.

However, "it was then a fantasy for me," he said. Palestinians did not have bulbs of saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world, nor have any experience in cultivating it.

Provided by Xinhua

(Photo by Ayman Nobani/Xinhua)

"I decided to take the matter into my own hands and make the first-ever breakthrough in planting such expensive and unique spice," he recalled.

It took years for the impoverished farmer to be able to buy the bulbs of saffron from abroad, and he had to save more money to move on with his cultivation project.

Four years later, the middle-aged man applied to a project funded by the non-government Agricultural Relief, which allowed him to import 17,000 bulbs from the Netherlands.

Provided by Xinhua

(Photo by Ayman Nobani/Xinhua)

"Each bulb produced five bulbs and I cultivated them too," he explained, saying that he kept cultivating all the produced bulbs for three years to harvest more saffron that would be enough to sell them.

"Every year the number of bulbs increases and doubles the production now each one of my bulbs can produce about 20-25 bulbs," he said.

After seven years of hard work, the villager has gained profits as he started to sell his saffron product in the local market and make money that helps him keep his family afloat.

"I harvested about 500 grams of saffron in 2022 and sell each gram of saffron for 10 U.S. dollars. It's enough for me as I have another job," he said, flashing a smile.

Provided by Xinhua

Inspired by his success, many residents in the West Bank also want to grow saffron, but were unable to afford it.

So, he initiated a program by providing some bulbs to local residents and educating them on the way to grow saffron.

Ghada Mohammed, a 39-year-old woman, was among twelve other villagers to plant saffron in their yards.

"Initially, I was skeptical about the feasibility of growing this type of spice at home, especially since it needs special care and is considered very expensive in the world," she said.

Both Bani Taha and the young woman hope to promote the techniques of planting saffron in their community to provide people with a new source of income.

More Palestinian News

Access More

Sign up for Palestinian News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!