1. Agriculture World

Saffron Production Hits 15 Metric Tonnes After Two Decades

Saffron production surpassed 15 metric tonnes for the first time in nearly 25 years last season, thanks to timely rainfall that restored the declining crop yield and gave growers hope.

Ayushi Raina
Saffron output has grown in recent years owing to timely rainfall, and the trend is projected to continue in the future
Saffron output has grown in recent years owing to timely rainfall, and the trend is projected to continue in the future

For the first time in over 25 years, saffron production surpassed 15 metric tonnes last season, owing to timely rainfall that restored the dwindling crop yield and gave producers optimism. 

According to officials, saffron output has grown in recent years owing to timely rainfall, and the trend is projected to continue in the future since the sprinkle irrigation system used under the National Saffron Mission will be fully operational in the forthcoming season. According to a government official, around 65 percent of the irrigation system has been completed, and he believes the irrigation system will be completed this year. 

According to the Agriculture Department, saffron production peaked at 15 metric tonnes in 1996, when the land cover was around 5707 hectares. 

Over time, the land cover has decreased to around 3715 acres, and production has declined, causing many producers to abandon the crop. 

Crop yields, on the other hand, have grown in recent years, with officials crediting the growth to the National Saffron Mission. 

When the National Saffron Mission was launched in 2011, saffron production had declined by 35% (10.40MT) and the area under cultivation had shrunk to 3,715 hectares.

However, this is the first time that output has exceeded 15 metric tonnes, hitting 15.04 tonnes. 

According to Suhail Ahamd, an Agriculture Department official, the reason for the good output was timely rainfall when the crop required it. “This crop needs moisture, and we got adequate rainfall for the crop to preserve moisture. Over the previous five years, production has increased,” he said. 

He said that the National Saffron Mission's technological support resulted in an increase in production.  "In saffron production, the department provides services such as intercultural operations, land management, seed quality, supplement-integrated nutrition, and pest management," he said. 

Saffron specialist Bashir Ahmad Elahi told that producers should irrigate their area from August 25th to September 5th. "Irrigating crops for these 10 days can increase saffron yield by 40%," he added. 

He said that the country's domestic requirement is 100 metric tonnes, but Jammu and Kashmir only produce 15 metric tonnes, resulting in an 85-metric-tonne shortfall. "To reduce this, we must use various treatments to meet that demand, and irrigation is one such intervention where we can boost our output,” he said. 

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