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Jammu & Kashmir: Researchers Modernizing Saffron Cultivation to Improve Yield

Scientists at Sheri Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST) are constantly promoting the use of cutting-edge agricultural technologies so that valley farmers and growers can improve their crops.

Shivam Dwivedi
Saffron Cultivation has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine & represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
Saffron Cultivation has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine & represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Saffron is grown in four districts of Jammu and Kashmir: Pulwama, Budgam, Srinagar, and Kishtwar. Pampore in the Pulwama district has earned the title of Kashmir's "saffron town" for producing the highest quality saffron. The soil quality in this area is ideal for cultivation, yielding the prized "Kashmiri saffron," which is known for its aroma, colour, and medicinal value.

 

The scientists at SKUAST were successful in producing indoor saffron to promote the saffron crop. Because of its purity, Kashmiri saffron is well-known throughout the world. Even though it is considered one of the most expensive spices, but its fragrance attracts people including tourists for purchasing it.

Scientists believe that this revolutionary step will enable growers to produce saffron even in limited space. At a time, when agricultural land is shrinking, this indoor saffron brings a great opportunity for those with limited space. Indoor-grown saffron takes only 3-4 months from purchase to flowering. Surprisingly, the bulbs are only irrigated twice during their entire growing cycle!

 

Scientists are using plastic trays and specific seeds to grow the indoor saffron crop. After that, they are using racks to keep all the materials inside the dark room and maintain the temperature for better results. Some progressive growers have already begun this process, and they hope that with government assistance, more people will adopt this technology next year.

Izzat Khan, the plantation's entrepreneur, this idea has yielded positive results. "As the agricultural lands are decreasing, we have got this very innovative idea. We can now grow saffron indoors. "As production increased, our results improved significantly," she said. Another employee, Basit Ahmed, stated that they want to put the core ideas into action on the ground floor.

 

"The results have been very good, and our goal is to implement indoor saffron at the ground level, and we are talking about the next steps," he said. Saffron is mostly used in the traditional Kashmiri hot drink 'Kehwa' and the cuisine is known as 'WAZWAN'. Aside from these, saffron has several medicinal properties, which is why this unique spice is in such high demand on national and international markets.

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