Growers say timely rainfall, changing farming pattern major contributor
BR Staff Reporter
Srinagar: Saffron has witnessed a yet another year of improved production last year as the total production of this costliest spice crossed 16metric tons, which is the highest figure recorded in last 27 years.
What pushed the production by additional 1.26 metric tons compared to the last year is the advanced farming techniques including better corm selection, nutrient management, inter-culture operations, weed and rodent control.
As per the official data shared by the Department of Agriculture Kashmir, the total saffron production has touched to 16.34 metric tons in 2022.
In 2021, Saffron production had increased to 15.04 metric tonnes, which was a big milestone achieved by the farmers in last 25 years.
With another year of a bumper crop, the production has been recorded as 4.4 kilogram of saffron per hectare.
A post-production analysis by the agriculture department revealed that timely irrigation and best agricultural practices have helped the farmers to get a better yield last season.
As per the department, a novel practice to select better and healthy corms was followed last year at the time of sowing.
It said that corms greater than eight grams of weight were sown, which were free from diseases and lesions. These corms followed a specific treatment against soil-borne disease by the farmers.
“The most optimum time of planting August- September was followed by the farmers. As advised by the department, the spacing between rows was 20x10cm and depth for every com was 15cm,” the analysis read.
Similarly, proper irrigation was followed by the farmers at the spouting, pre-flowering and post-flowering stages.
The analysis also said that nutrient management (inorganic fertilisers and vermicompost), inter-culture operations (two hoeings) and integrated weed control was done to ensure a healthy crop.
A major operation against the rodents was also followed by the farmers as aluminum phosphide pouches were placed in the fields throughout the season.
The enhanced production has encouraged farmers to adopt more scientific practices to get better yields in the coming years.
“We had a good production of saffron this year as the weather was favourable throughout the year followed by timely irrigation of the crop,” said Abdul Majeed Wani , Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Saffron Growers Association.
Pertinently, the agriculture department had assisted the growers in getting a Geographic Indication tag for the crop following which the rates for the Kashmir saffron have gone up.
It also helped the local saffron to recover its specific identity as cheaper Iranian saffron had flooded Indian markets and was sold as Kashmiri saffron.