Farmers anticipate bumper Saffron crop this year

SRINAGAR, NOV 01: The timely rains in September and October have raised expectations of a successful Saffron crop this year in the Kashmir valley.

Growers are optimistic that these rains will significantly boost saffron production.

Abdul Majeed Wani, chairman of the Saffron Growers Association, highlighted the importance of these rains after a prolonged dry season. “The healthier condition of the crops indicates a potentially abundant harvest this year,” he said.

The saffron flowers are expected to start blooming in the first week of November. Farmers are eagerly awaiting this stage to assess this year’s estimated production.

It’s worth noting that last year witnessed a record saffron production of 16.34 metric tonnes, the highest in over 25 years, and in 2021, it was 15.04 metric tonnes.

Farmers have upgraded their cultivation methods, including indoor saffron farming and improved pest control, to increase their yields.

Each kilogram of Saffron costs Rs 2 to 3 lakh depending upon the demand from the consumers.

GI tag has also benefited the farmers. “Earlier Iranian saffron was being sold on Kashmiri name that has been stopped. We are hopeful of a bumper Saffron production this year,” said another farmer Farooq Ahmad.

In Kashmir, three districts – Pulwama, Budgam, and Srinagar grow saffron. Among them, Pulwama district’s Pampore has earned the title of Kashmir’s ‘saffron town’ for growing the highest and best quality saffron.

The soil quality in this area is highly suitable for its cultivation.

More than 16,000 families are associated with saffron production in Pampore.

Saffron flowers are sensitive to the vagaries of the weather. Its production depends on the weather conditions and the irrigation facilities.

Furthermore, indoor cultivation of saffron, introduced by SKUAST in 2021, is gaining popularity among farmers and is expected to be adopted by more in the coming years.

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