Trays, racks, practice package given for indoor saffron cultivation
Pampore: Vice Chancellor of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences & Technology, Kashmir (SKUAST), Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganaie along with other officials distributed saffron seeds among progressive farmers from various districts here in the Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday.
The VC along with Director Extension Dil Mohammad Maqdoomi and Director Research Tariq Hussain Masoodi visited Advance Research Station for Saffron and Seed Spices SKUAST-K Dusoo Pampore where he distributed Saffron corms among farmers from Kulgam Budgam, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kupwara and Srinagar.
Along with free-of-cost corms, the farmers were given trays, racks and another package of practice for Indoor Saffron cultivation, SKUAST-Kashmir officials told Kashmir Reader.
During this visit, officials took a significant step in supporting local farmers by distributing Saffron corms to farmers hailing from remote areas. This initiative is expected to contribute to the growth and expansion of Saffron cultivation in these areas.
During the programme, a training and awareness programme focusing on Indoor Saffron Cultivation was organized for the farmers present at the event.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Prof Ganaie said that the Research Center of SKUAST-Kashmir located in Dusoo Pampore primarily focuses on Saffron. “This center is often referred to as the station for saffron research. The main objective is to see how we can extend saffron cultivation to our neighbouring regions such as Bandipora, Shopian, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Budgam, and Kulgam, which have similar climate,” he said.
He said that last year they distributed saffron seeds to several progressive farmers in these areas and this year they are providing seeds to more farmers. “We are distributing approximately 12 to 14 quintals of Saffron seeds worth around 14 lakh rupees and also providing Indoor cultivation inputs. Our university has taken a pioneering step in indoor cultivation, making it possible to cultivate saffron in a controlled environment,“ he said, adding that 120 kg of saffron seeds were given per farmer free of cost.
The VC said that some 150 trays and some racks along with a package of practices were also handed over to the farmers.
“This will help them experiment with indoor cultivation. If this experiment proves successful, we plan to expand Saffron cultivation to non-traditional areas to increase saffron production,” he said.
After obtaining the GI tag, Kashmir saffron is now recognized as genuine and pure, he said.
Prof Ganai said that previously, the saffron market prices were around 100 to 150 rupees, but now they can go up to 300 to 400 rupees. “We have high hopes that we will be able to meet the challenges posed by changing weather conditions in the future, “ he said, adding that the university has developed new technology to increase saffron production.
“While traditionally, 2.5 kg of saffron was harvested per hectare, with our new technology, we can now achieve 5 to 6 kg per hectare. Unfortunately, the changing weather patterns in the region have resulted in inadequate rainfall, making irrigation a critical and essential aspect of our fields,” he said.
The SKUAS-K VC said restoring proper irrigation is a top priority. Additionally, implementing a package of practices is crucial, he said.
“This includes controlling factors like porcupine and managing diseases effectively. Moreover, engaging the youth in farming is essential,” he said.