Srinagar: Timely rains in September and October have spurred hopes of bumper saffron crop this year.
Saffron crop is nearing its flowering stage and the abundant rains that the valley received this week have irrigated the saffron field in Pampore and Budgam.
Growers are hopeful that the timely rains this year will further increase saffron production manifold.
“The valley this year witnessed a dry season for a long time. Fortunately, we received abundant rains this week, which was very much needed for the saffron crop. We are hopeful for a good crop this year,” said Abdul Majeed Wani, chairman of the Saffron Growers Association.
He said the crops are healthier this season, which indicates a bumper crop this year.
“After October 24, the flowering of saffron will start. The rains delayed the flowering. Still, the crop looks healthier and we are eagerly waiting for the flowering of the saffron to know our estimated production this year,” Wani said.
Last year, the total saffron production hit 16.34 metric tonnes, which was the highest production of this crop recorded in the last 27 years.
In 2021, saffron production was recorded at 15.04 metric tonnes. The output per hectare was recorded at 4.4 kilograms in 2022.
Farmers said pots GI, they have upgraded their farming methods to get better returns from the crop.
“This includes indoor cultivation of saffron which gives better yield with least chances of crop failures. Similarly, farmers have established a mechanism for weed and rodent control, which escalates the production per hectare,” said Bashir Ahmad, a saffron grower.
Meanwhile, more farmers are trying indoor cultivation of saffron, which was introduced by the SKUAST in 2021.
“In coming years we will witness that more farmers will try this innovative method to scale up their saffron production,” Ahmad said.
Pertinently, Kashmiri Saffron was given the GI tag in July 2020 to promote the valley’s heritage crop on the global map.
This year, the state government is mulling to further boost saffron production with its new export policy.
The government has shortlisted 60 countries where the saffron will be exported.
Officials said so far, Dubai, America, and Israel are some of the largest buyers of Kashmir saffron.