India: Saffron production hits a 25-year high in Kashmir

Saffron production has hit a 25-year high in Kashmir. Figures shared by the Department of Agriculture reveal that the saffron production was 15.04 metric tons last year. Earlier, the highest production was recorded in 1996  when the yield hit 15 MT. The average yield was 2.80 kg per hectare, while the cultivated area was 5,707 hectares.

After 1996, both saffron production, as well as cultivable land, declined in Kashmir as farmers shifted to other crops for better returns.

Before the launch of the National Saffron Mission in 2011, saffron production had declined by 35 percent (10.40MT) and the area under cultivation had shrunk to 3,715 hectares.

Director Agriculture department Chaudhary Mohammad Iqbal told The Kashmir Monitor that timely rains helped the crop retain moisture for a longer duration. “We had enough rain before flowering. It helped in maintaining a water balance in the soil,” he said. 

 He said technological intervention under National Saffron Mission led to an increase in production. “The department extended services like intercultural operations and inter-nutrient management in saffron cultivation. Management of land, quality of seeds, supplement-integrated nutrients, and pest management too helped,” he said.

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