Srinagar: Many fold increase in Saffron production this year has become a source of joy and jubilation for the farmers associated with the crop who had suffered huge losses in past a few years due to weather vagaries.
Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Saffron Growers Association, Abdul Majeed Wani told UNI that there has been 50 percent increase in the production of saffron crop this year against the previous years and farmers associated with it are delighted.
The saffron harvesting is in progress in many south Kashmir villages especially in Pampore which is known as the ‘Saffron Town of Kashmir.
“Weather played a commendable role in the saffron production with rainfall occurring at a time when it was needed, helping the crop to grow and increase production,” the chairman said.
Wani said that many farmers who are associated with this crop had given up on sowing the seeds of saffron in their fields due to low production during the past few years. But, after seeing a good production of the crop this year, they regret their decision and have made up their mind to continue the saffron business in future.
“We cannot say it is a bumper crop,” Wani said and added “It is 50 percent more than what we were achieving during the past few years.”
He said that it became possible only due to good weather conditions and timely rainfall helped the crop to grow and increased production.
He said that many outside parties have already made their online bids for the purchase of saffron from the growers.
Wani said, “Saffron growers in Pampore have been waiting for the completion of the sprinkle irrigation facility by the government to boost production of saffron but nothing has been done so far,” he said.
He said although about 128 bore wells have been installed but they have not been made functional as yet. “If irrigation facility to the saffron fields remains available, we would have a bumper crop every year,” Wani added.
He demanded that irrigation facilities should be made available to the saffron farmers in the future so that the crop would not have to wait for the timely rains.
In a new technique with the help of the Sher-e-Kashmir Agriculture University Shalimar, Wani is sowing saffron seeds in his home called “indoor saffron” where he had put beds in a step by step way claimed growing quality production of the saffron and can afford any weather condition.
He advised other farmers to adhere to the indoor saffron system to increase the production without facing any weather threat.
The saffron association head said that the supply of Iranian saffron in Kashmir valley had ruined their market.
He claimed people are selling Iranian saffron in the name of Kashmir, thus ruining our crop. However, he said the buyers are now aware and can identify the Kashmiri and Iranian saffron.
He said, earlier the growers were selling a kilogram of saffron for Rs 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh to the buyer, but with the mixing of Iranian saffron the rates went down tremendously.
He said the growers are now selling saffron in Spice Park in Dussu village of Pampore in south Kashmir and claimed buyers from the valley as well as outside are bidding high and getting pure Kashmir saffron at a good price. “Even online the buyers from various outside states are giving their bid for the saffron,” he said.