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Afghan rose oil helping rural development

Poppies are the primary agricultural export of Afghanistan. The mountainous nation supplies 85% of Europe’s Opium market, but with democracy comes common sense and many of Afghanistan’s poppy farmers are switching to a Bulgarian rose.

Natural rose oil production can provide Afghan farmers with an alternative to the opium poppy to generate much needed income because of oil’s high profit, easy transportation and high demand. The Rose Oil seemed promising to displace the Poppy in many of Afghanistan’s best agricultural regions, because the cultivation of roses is up to 50% more profitable than poppy production.

Natural essential rose oil is a valuable commodity and 1 kg of the essential oil will sell for between €4,000 and €6,000. Four tons of rose petals are needed to get 1 kg of oil, which is approximately one hectare of rose plants and the dry climate is perfectly suited for the production of high oil-yield roses.

The "Afghan Rose Project", initiatied by the "German Agro Action" (DWHH) seems to be a real reasonable and sustainable enterprise in this sorely afflicted country.