SRINAGAR: The devastating floods that hit Kashmir last month also damaged saffron fields , affecting the annual production of the expensive crop.
The saffron growers from Pampore in south Kashmir, the major producer of saffron in the Valley, said the flood has damaged bulbs of the plants in the fields spanning thousands of kanals.
The flood hit most saffron-growing areas of Pampore including of Nahma, Katapur, Basru, Sambura, and Wuyan, destroying the fields along with the standing crop.
“Except a minor percentage, flood destroyed all Saffron plants in our fields. Consequently, the quantity of Saffron produced this year will be very low. All of us (farmers) are facing financial loss,” the growers said.
Last year, approximately 11 tonne of saffron was produced in the Valley, and was sold at for Rs 1, 75, 000 per kg in the outside markets.
“In coming weeks, the crops spared by the flood will be ready for harvest. But the produce won’t be much,” they said.
Already, the scarcity of Kashmiri Saffron is being felt in the outside markets. And, reportedly, the traders are mixing less-expensive Iranian Saffron with the available Kashmiri Saffron to make up for the dearth.