War veterans bloom saffron flowers in hopes of creating peace in Afghanistan
Emily Miller, Kim Jung and Keith Alaniz have three impressive things in common. They are Harvard grads, Afghanistan veterans, and believe saffron is just what the Afghanistan economy needs. During their time spent overseas, Miller, Jung and Alaniz soon learned that Afghanistan is covered with the purple flowers credited to making saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world. They also learned that Afghani saffron is among the best saffron in the world.
In an attempt to bring more money and business to farmers in Afghanistan, as well as empower Afghan women, the three veterans teamed up with an Afghan Rural Enterprise Development Program lawyer and created “Rumi Spice”. Rumi sources saffron from local Afghan farms while employing more than 300 women in Herat, Afghanistan. The company believes that “creating demand for Afghan agricultural products will catalyze rural economic development”. To back up their belief, the company has seen output from their partners double and triple, continuously having new farmers join their network.
They take pride in the fact that they are giving Afghan farmers the ability to connect with the global market, unlocking the economic potential of Afghanistan.
Rumi partners credit their success to working in Afghanistan and seeing first-hand the direct affect saffron has on every member of the village. Along with direct experience, the veterans have developed a strong Afghan network and in-country expertise, working well in their favor.
“Our competitive advantage is our ability to navigate the Afghan business landscape, which is built on trusted relationships,” explained Miller, Jung and Alaniz.
With a mission to cultivate peace in Afghanistan, and over 80% of the Afghan population reliant on the rural agricultural economy, providing business through selling saffron seems to be in the Afghan economy’s best interest.