Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Management, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Applied Mathematics, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran


Among various products available in agriculture, saffron plays a major role in contributing to Iran's gross domestic product and per capita income growth.  Due to shortage of workforce and short duration of harvesting, areas under cultivation of saffron in Iran will be declining in coming years. Thus, proper planning for optimum use of workforce is one of the most important techniques to access efficient harvesting. In this regard, an integer programming model is proposed to solve the problem in this paper. Number of working shift and working hours in each shift are among decision variables in the proposed model, which satisfy the objective function, i.e. minimizing the total cost of workforce, with constrains including number of working hours in each shift, speed of workforce, number of fields that should be harvested in each day and relationship between working hours of each worker and the cost allocated­­­­. To evaluate the proposed model, we employ the data collected from fields located in different areas of Qaen, South Khorasan province, Iran. By comparing the output of the proposed model to the real situation, the ability of the model is confirmed. Finally, concluding remarks and suggestions for future research are provided.

Graphical Abstract

Efficient Harvesting of Saffron Using Integer Programming


  • The work force scheduling problem for efficient harvesting of saffron is investigated in this research
  • We propose a mixed integer programming (MIP) model to solve the workforce planning problem
  • The proposed model is evaluated by using a real data collected from Qaen, South Khorasan, Iran
  • Comparing the result with real situation indicates the performance of the proposed model


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