A laboratory near producers | BTC - Belgian Development Agency


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The quality of saffron supplied by the cooperatives is sometimes not clearly determined, which makes sales harder in particular on added value markets. That is why the work of Fatima-Zahra and An is important as part of a quality assessment system.

Located in the ‘Maison du safran’ in Taliouine, near the saffron fields, the laboratory that Fatima-Zahra and An have made operational is a first in Morocco because it is so nearby and its services are affordable. No need to run to Agadir or another city to run the tests.

Taste, smell, colour, humidity, volatility… All these criteria determine the quality of the product. In 2016, 84% of saffron samples were classified category 1 (out of 3). Thanks to this quality assessment system, which is based on physical and scientific criteria that are internationally recognised (ISO 3632-1-2011), the price paid to producers depends on the category of the saffron delivered. Soon, this reflects also in the sales prices of saffron sold to consumers as a range of products with varying prices – depending on quality – is available.

This system urges producers to improve the quality of their product so they obtain a better price. But they still need to get to know the ins and outs of the system...


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Between the field and eventual conditioning, a series of factors can affect the quality of saffron: cultivation techniques, picking, hygiene, etc. The analyses showed that in particular the drying techniques are not always under control. After all, humid saffron cannot be preserved well.

That is why along with their lab work, Fatima-Zahra, An and their colleagues raise awareness and train – with figures backing them – the various value chain players on the criteria that must be taken into account, good practices and their impact on saffron quality, its colours, its flavours and taste.  
Sensitisation and training workshops with cooperatives 
Such scientific analyses and the traceability system put in place constitute a significant sales argument; after all, saffron is the most coveted spice in the world and the tests guarantee customers that the product is of quality and of origin. For Hassan, the salesman of the Dar Azaafran Group, that is a major asset that helps him find clients. Check out his story.


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An, a young Belgian biochemist, works at the lab of Taliouine under the framework of the Junior Programme. That’s a programme that allows young Europeans to acquire first experience in international development cooperation. Find out more on the Junior Programme website


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Pick a player in the value chain and find out how (s)he contributes to its development.
Women, key players in the saffron value chain
Khadija, saffron producer
Her story
Cooperatives, the future of the saffron value chain
Fatima, local coach
her story
In search of new clients
Hassan, salesman
his story



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