Seek support to enhance production as tourists flock to enchanting saffron fields
Pampore: The picturesque fields of south Kashmir’s Pampore area have come alive with the vibrant hues of saffron flowers, casting a spell on the hearts of both locals and tourists. Amidst the bustling harvest activities, families enthusiastically unite, fostering a strong sense of community as they delicately gather the precious blossoms. Impressively, even the younger members of the community actively participate, upholding cherished traditions and fostering camaraderie. Festive fairs have sprung up, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Encouragingly, tourists from both country and international destinations have flocked to witness this enchanting spectacle, underscoring the global allure of the region. With its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Kashmir stands as a testament to nature’s unparalleled beauty.
A visiting tourist aptly described the experience, stating, “Kashmir is indeed a unique paradise.”
Amidst the joy, local farmers express their elation, highlighting their unwavering dedication despite challenging drought conditions and Irrigation. They emphasized that the lack of irrigation facilities has led to decreased production; otherwise, their yield could have been much higher. Saffron cultivation remains the backbone of their livelihoods. However, they humbly appeal to the authorities for improved irrigation facilities, hoping to mitigate any future hardships.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Ghulam Ahmad Ganaie, a farmer from Pampore said, “I have harvested 50 kg of saffron crop so far, and the harvest is still ongoing. I am grateful to Allah for the good production I have had in three spots. However, we have faced irrigation problems this year. Despite the favourable weather conditions, timely rainfall did not occur. If there were irrigation facilities in the saffron fields, I could have harvested a much larger saffron crop this year, especially since the rain did not arrive on time.”
He added, “Irrigation is crucial for saffron cultivation. If we had borewells in our saffron fields, we could install our own motors and provide irrigation whenever necessary. People need to work hard; this year, despite the favourable weather, some individuals are not putting in the effort. We must work diligently because, without hard work, there won’t be any production, whether it’s saffron, mustard, or any other crop. Hard work is essential for every crop.”
Ghulam Ahmad also pointed out, “Another issue we face is that rats have damaged the saffron corms in the fields. Now, we have to visit the fields daily; otherwise, these rats will continue to harm the corms. The problem arises when a farmer leaves their field uncared for; it becomes a breeding ground for rats. We request assistance from the agriculture department. Firstly, they should provide borewells, and secondly, some medicines to control the rat infestation. We were given some medicine earlier, but we haven’t received anything since. Additionally, if the agriculture department provides us with fertilizers, it would greatly help in saffron production.”
“I have been working diligently on my saffron fields since April. I own around 7-8 acres of land where I planted saffron corms. I received assistance from the agriculture department as well, and I am thankful to them too. Today, I have achieved good production in this field, and it is solely the result of hard work. Without hard work, it would be impossible. You can compare my saffron field with others; there hasn’t been significant saffron production in those fields. The production in my saffron field is a result of consistent hard work, and it’s essential to work diligently and timely,” Ganaie said.
He also said, “Irrigation was necessary for this field, and the concerned department has installed borewells. However, we have never seen irrigation water here. If the department provides us with a functional borewell, we can manage the irrigation ourselves. We could bring our own motor, and then we wouldn’t need their assistance. If we have access to a borewell, we can arrange the rest on our own, and this would lead to a significant increase in production after that.”
“Moreover, a lot of tourists are visiting our saffron fields today with their families. They are enjoying the experience, taking photos, and expressing their happiness. It brings us joy to see them delighted when the production is good. We would like to request our department to install borewells here to enhance the irrigation facilities,” he added.
Another farmer Mohammad Ashraf Ganaie, informed Kashmir Reader that they are closely related to Saffron cultivation. “We start our farming work in August and continue it until September. We put in three rounds of hard work and only then does the production increase,” he said.
“We request other farmers to put in the effort and achieve good production in their fields so that you can have a good yield in the future. Alongside this, we are facing a shortage of irrigation,” Ashraf said, adding, “So far, we have not received any irrigation facilities here in the Chandhara and Samboora Saffron fields, and pipes have not been installed here. If the government provides us with assistance, this can become successful. If irrigation is provided on time, then the production will improve.”