Poonch: School of Biotechnology, University of Jammu organized farmer’s awareness meet for introduction of Saffron cultivation in non-traditional areas in Poonch district, in collaboration with Poonch Campus, of University of Jammu. The meeting was conducted in hybrid mode.
The meet was conducted under a transdisciplinary Project entitled “Socio-Economic effect of cultivating saffron using in-house developed method” sanction to Prof. Jyoti Vakhlu School of Biotechnology, Dr Shallu Shegal from Dept. of Economics, Dr. Aubid Hussain Parrey from Department of management, Dr. Sunil Sharma from Department of statistics and Dr. Sheetal Ambardar from institutional research fund of University of Jammu.
Prof. Umesh Rai, Honourable Vice Chancellor, JU, who has great vision for University of Jammu, believes that the research at the University level should have some translational effect. Prof. Rai strongly believes that knowledge generated in the University should finally benefit common man.
Saffron, heritage crop of Jammu and Kashmir is primarily cultivated in Pampore of Pulwama and Kishtwar region of Jammu. The demand of saffron is huge and growing day by day due to its use in medicine and cosmetics in addition to food. However, the yield is on decline due to various reasons climate change and corm rot being two most contributing reasons.
In pursuit of increasing the product, the team led by Prof. Jyoti Vakhlu conducted pilot field experiment in various non-traditional regions in Jammu with conducive pedoclimatic conditions to traditional saffron cultivating regions in the years 2018 to 2022. The pilot study led to selection of Poonch district as one of the potential areas for saffron cultivation. These Pilot studies were conducted in collaboration with Mr. Aijaz Ahmed Bylla; a progress farmer and a school teacher from Bylla village in Poonch.
Director Poonch campus Prof. Rakesh Vaid in his address congratulated School of Biotechnology, Poonch Campus University of Jammu especially Prof. Jyoti Vakhlu School of Biotechnology University of Jammu for organising this awareness meet for introduction of Saffron cultivation in non-traditional areas in Poonch district. “Such awareness programmes on Saffron Cultivation at Poonch District will definitely help farmers to increase their income,” he added
The JU SBT team that included Dr. Shanu Mangora, Mr. Tahir Ali and Dr.
Nancy Bhagat have developed and evaluated a bio-formulation that enhances yield of saffron in fields. Now, in the trans disciplinary project funded by University, this study is being up scaled and extended to larger area in non-traditional areas in Poonch. The meet was organized to educate 25 selected progressive farmers about cultivation of saffron using in-house technology.
Tahir Ali, senior research scholar made presentation about how the saffron cultivation can be done, followed by the demonstration video by Dr. Nancy Bhagat about how to use in-house technology. This was followed by the discussion and interaction of farmer with the PI of the project i.e. Dr. Shallu, Dr. Aubid and Dr. Sunil.
Since, the aim of the project is to increase farmer’s income in addition to saffron cultivation; the team will analyse the outcome using robust scientific methods. In addition, the team would try to market it with efficient marketing strategy for the saffron spice produced at Mandi.
Javed Ahmed Bhatt progressive farmer from Pampore region of Pulwama shared his first hand experience in saffron cultivation practices. Farmers those who attended via offline as well online mode were very happy with the workshop and promised full support to the mission of saffron cultivation in Poonch.
Dr Rubia Bukhari Campus officer Poonch Campus while speaking on the occasion said that the initiative of School of Biotechnology University of Jammu for introduction of Saffron cultivation in non-traditional areas in Poonch district is a ray of hope for the farmers of the area to cultivate saffron and earn more money to change their way of living. “Poonch Campus is already working with the farmers of the Poonch district to adopt new techniques for the Cocoon production and this new initiative from Prof. Jyoti Vakhlu from the School of Biotechnology University of Jammu has brought era of new revolutions in this border town Poonch,’ She said adding further that in future also such awareness programmes will definitely yield good results.
Director SBT, JU Prof. Sanjana Koul and Director Poonch campus Prof.
Rakesh Vaid, were present during this interaction. School of Biotechnology acknowledges Ch. Mohd Yasin, Divisional Commissioner Poonch for all the administrative support. The program was organized by Ritika Mansotra, Ms. Ayushi Verma, Ms. Nitika Sharma and Shallu Changotra research scholars of the Metagenomics lab, School of Biotechnology and from Poonch campus Dr. Rubia Bukhari, campus officer and her team.