Since 2014, when devastating floods ravaged most parts of Kashmir, 54-year-old Ghulam Nabi Ganaie of Pulwama’s Lethpora village has never had a profitable saffron harvest. Lack of irrigation facilities and prolonged dry weather saw his annual yield of saffron on 15 kanals of land (1.87 acres) fall by half. The losses, however, didn’t push him to switch to apple farming unlike many farmers in his village. Ganaie knew the superiority of the saffron he grew in his fields would fetch good returns.
Now, for the first time in seven years, his saffron yield has grown by nearly 48 percent. “Last year I harvested 400 grams of saffron. Post 2014, we would witness untimely rainfall coupled with a lack of adequate facilities. My annual yield, which was more than a kilogram back in the 1990s, had been reduced to just 250 grams,” he says.
Not just Ganaie, similar results in the annual yield were being witnessed by the more than 400 saffron farmers in his village. Wani last year volunteered to participate in a Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST) effort to grow saffron under controlled conditions. He planted 400 kg of seeds in small trays in a room of 10 feet length and 12 feet width.
The results, he said, were promising as a better yield of saffron was possible in a smaller space. “A team of experts has surveyed it repeatedly and they are positive about the results. It yielded up to 300 grams of saffron, which otherwise is grown on 10-15 kanals of land,” he says.
Read the complete article at www.moneycontrol.com.