Wah Saffron! World’s costliest spice production hits 10 year high in Kashmir
Srinagar: Saffron growers have a reason to smile as the annual yield of the world’s costliest spice has crossed 13 metric tonnes for the first time in the last 10 years.
Data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveals that the valley produced 13.36 metric tonnes of saffron last year. In 2019, the total saffron production was 12.495 metric tonnes.
In 2018, 2017 and 2016, the saffron production was 4.30, 3.92, and 12.19 metric tonnes respectively.
In 2015, 2014 and 2013, the saffron production was 11.742, 2.938, and 8.649 metric tonnes respectively.
The year 2012 and 2011 saw the lowest saffron production in a decade. The annual yield in 2012 and 2011 was 5.733 and 1.489 metric tonnes respectively.
Officials at the Department of Agriculture said the scientific farming and National Saffron Mission have helped the farmers to achieve the feat.
Official data reveal that against a target of 124 production wells, the department has constructed 121 wells. Work on rest three is in progress.
Similarly, out of 126 sprinkle irrigation pumps, 56 have been made operational. Work on the rest is in progress.
Last year, the Centre approved Geographic Indication (GI) tagging of Kashmir saffron to protect it from cheaper Iranian and Spanish varieties.
Officials said the GI tagging has certainly helped the growers to get better rates in Indian and international markets.
“Lacha saffron, which would cost Rs 80 per gram, is sold at Rs 175-185 per gram this year. Similarly, the price of Mogra variety has shot up to Rs 228 per gram this year from Rs 120 per gram in 2019. Overall, the farmers got benefited by the GI tagging,” said Choudhary Mohammad Iqbal, Director Agriculture, Kashmir
He said the farmers too are shifting to scientific farming, which is giving them good results and returns.
“The government acknowledged that Kashmiri saffron is the best and deserved a good market. We are taking various other steps to help farmers get better yield and prices in the market,” Iqbal said.