Need of proactive research on production technology for safeguarding Saffron industry

Srinagar: SKUAST-Kashmir in collaboration with Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare Department, Kashmir (J&K) organized one day Saffron Workshop-cum-Interaction meet. The interaction session was presided over by Vice- Chancellor Prof. Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Director Research, Director Education, SKUAST-K, Director Agriculture Kashmir and other field functionaries of the development department, Scientists of Advanced Research Station for Saffron and Seed Spices, Dussu, Pampore and Saffron growers of potential areas of district Pulwama, Budgam and Srinagar attended the workshop.
Farmers expressed their concern regarding declining saffron production over the years attributed to multiple factors including persistent drought stress and non-availability of irrigation in the saffron niche growing areas and physical damage to the fields due to increase of infestation of rodents and porcupine.
Vice-Chancellor SKUAST-Kashmir Prof. Nazir Ahmad Ganie, deliberated upon the concerns raised by the Saffron farmers and suggested some of the remedial measures. Urgent need was felt to customize the traditional production technology and blending it with modern technological tools and emphasized a need to control the rapidly spreading urbanization, providing and assuring component of irrigation by the department of agriculture etc. Documentation of indigenous technological know-how of saffron growing farmers was advocated in order to safeguard the interests of saffron Industry. Monthly Calendar/Newsletter for field operations of saffron was proposed to be prepared and circulated on regular basis. He also advised to scale up production of quality planting material (Corms) for area expansion under Saffron cultivation.
Director Agriculture Kashmir, Choudhary Mohammad Iqbal assured to take due cognizance of facts and agreed upon executionof integrated guidelines on saffron cultivation programme in the target areas. Worthy Director Agriculture also assured the farmers that the field functionaries will be made proactive to control menace of spurious fertilizers and chemicals prevalent in the market domain. He also proposed to carry out the collaborative campaign for sensitization and awareness of the saffron farmers during the current growing season.
Scientific acumen and contribution of the SKUAST-Kashmir was also acknowledged during the proceedings of the workshop. Director Research Prof. Sarfaraz A. Wani stressed upon the adoption of University approved technologies. Invited expert Prof. F.A Nehvi expressed the need to take proactive research on production technology for its refinement and fine tuning to meet the current exigencies facing saffron industry.
Professor& Head, Advanced Research Station for Saffron and Seed Spices, Dr. B.A Alie highlighted the requisite interventions to be executed in letter and spirit at the ground level to prevent further decline in the production of saffron in Kashmir.

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