Srinagar, Nov 6: The picturesque uplands of Pampore in South Kashmir have undergone a remarkable transformation as vibrant purple saffron flowers have finally burst into full bloom, albeit after a 10-day delay due to a drop in temperature. This natural spectacle has ignited the hopes of saffron growers for a promising saffron production this year.
For years, saffron growers in the Pampore area have yearned for the sight of their fields adorned with purple saffron blossoms. Adverse weather conditions, including a challenging drought cycle, have significantly reduced saffron crop production. However, timely rainfall this year has brought relief and newfound hope to these dedicated growers.
Saffron cultivators, accompanied by their children, were seen flocking to the fields on Sunday, equipped with wicker baskets to pick these beautiful purple flowers. Their delight was palpable as the saffron flowers finally bloomed after a nearly 10-day delay.
Growers attribute this positive change to the timely rainfall, which nature has once again bestowed upon them, revitalizing their prospects for a good yield this year. Abdul Ahad Rather, a saffron grower, expressed his relief, stating, “We usually gather 3-4 batches of flowers, with the largest batch typically around the 25th to the 27th, but this year, that schedule was disrupted. We were concerned about a potential decline in production, but now we have picked the largest batch of the crop. It is safe to say that nature has once again come to our rescue.”
Ghulam Nabi, a 65-year-old grower, noted that this year’s saffron flowering cycle has returned to its original timing, reminiscent of three decades ago. He emphasized that this promising change signals expectations of a substantial harvest this year, bringing a sense of relief and excitement to the growers. However, he acknowledged that the lost production could never go back to what they used to have in the past.
Abdul Majeed, president of the Saffron Growers Association, expressed optimism about the current season, saying, “We are expecting the best saffron production since 2014. The timely rainfall has once again come to the rescue of growers and given them hope of a good crop this year.”
Growers are optimistic about the increased crop yield, which provides them with renewed hope for the future of their saffron cultivation. Preliminary estimates suggest that the output could be higher this year, offering a glimmer of hope for these dedicated farmers.
Despite the positive developments in saffron cultivation, growers have voiced concerns about the government’s failure to complete the irrigation system. They are demanding a thorough investigation into the establishment of the National Saffron Mission and accountability for any shortcomings. The irrigation system, an integral part of the National Saffron Mission, aims to address the region’s drought issues by laying water delivery pipes and installing sprinklers. However, many bore wells intended for irrigation are currently non-functional.
The “National Saffron Mission,” initiated in collaboration with the local government, was introduced in 2010 with a budget of Rs 500 crore, with the goal of boosting saffron production and expanding saffron cultivation areas. Despite 12 years of effort, it has yet to yield substantial results, leaving growers eager for more effective support to ensure the continued success of saffron farming in South Kashmir.
The saffron growers of Pampore are savoring their hard-earned moment of prosperity, hoping that nature’s renewed generosity and government support will enable them to thrive once again.