Lebanon ,Facing the economic crisis by cultivating gold "red gold"
Two Lebanese architects managed to grow and produce saffron in order to face the economic crisis in a different way. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and is known as "red gold".
Despite the difficult economic and living conditions, red gold grows in Lebanon today, as saffron cultivation has become available on Lebanese agricultural land, after engineers Carl Karam and Jihad Farah tended to grow and produce it since the year 2020.
In a field of only one hectare, adorned with purple saffron flowers, engineer Carl Karam talks to "Sky News Arabia” about the beginnings, saying: "In 2020, we decided, with all the crises happening in the country, to search for any work that would help us to survive in Lebanon.” We used to hear a lot about cultivation, but we did not approach it. From here, the idea of saffron cultivation began, which we had in 2017, and which turned from a dream into reality today.
Saffron cultivation does not need a lot of water, but it requires great accuracy in the work, as the flowers are counted after picking them, then their stigmas are separated with great caution, and dried manually, whereas obtaining one hundred grams of saffron needs fifty thousand stigmas, knowing that each plant contains only three stigmas.
The engineer added: "Our demands today are not difficult, we do not want water, we just want a land and people who have a desire to work" (..) "Although the work is agricultural and harsh, girls can work in it more easily."
Karam explains, "Historically, they used to say that saffron cultivation does not succeed in Lebanon. We did a simple research, and no, we are growing saffron of high quality, and this thing is proven in the laboratory, and this is the second year of production."
How will saffron contribute to alleviating the crisis?
Engineers Karam and Farah believe that agriculture is the only solution that can help the Lebanese get out of the economic crisis, especially in the fertile Bekaa Valley.
According to Lebanese experts, saffron cultivation can contribute to the employment of five thousand families, with an economic return of tens of millions of dollars annually, if the necessary tools are provided.
The two red gold producers in Lebanon continue their work in architecture along with their work in the production of saffron, and they confirm that there is a great similarity between the two professions represented by the extreme precision during work, which made them attracted to the idea of saffron cultivation.