Starting before dawn has even broken, Afghanistan's army of saffron pickers shift their way across sun-baked fields to pluck the brightly coloured crocuses that are providing the country's farmers with a new means of income.
Pistil of the flower has for centuries been used in cooking around the world and because of its relatively high price has been dubbed "red gold" by those who rely on its cultivation.
Authorities struggling to wean farmers off the highly profitable opium poppy trade are hoping to use the spice as an attractive alternative.
Iran remains the world's largest saffron producer, capturing nearly 90 percent of the global market with 400 tonnes annually. Meanwhile, nearly 90 percent of the opium harvested on the planet still comes from Afghanistan.