Saffron exports ballooned to more than 2.8 tonnes in the past year – a 95 percent increase on the previous corresponding period, government officials said Saturday.

Persian year 1391 (22 March 2011- 21 March 2012) saw an improvement in the product packaging and better marketing, which were key towards almost doubling the export of the spice, according to the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA).

“There has been an increase in 1391 compared to that of 1390, for packing, process, and the marketing carried out,” said Sayed Azim Mustafa Hashimi, head of the EPAA’s Raisins, Fruits, and Vegetables department.

Afghanistan’s saffron is mainly exported to Italy, Australia, Canada, and China, the department officials said.

The product secured first place for its quality from among 16 other countries last year in a saffron fair in France.