Saffron Bowl Project

Saffron

Saffron Bowl Project

Under the Saffron Bowl initiative, the North East Center for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) has selected a few areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya for saffron growing.

For Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, the total cost of the project is Rs. 17.68 lakhs.

NECTAR is an autonomous agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that financed a pilot study to see if it was possible to cultivate saffron in the North East of India with the same quality and quantity as in the rest of the country.

Saffron cultivation was once limited to only a few, isolated areas in Kashmir.

Despite the National Saffron Mission’s efforts, the producing area was still too small.

Bore wells were in short supply in the saffron-growing regions.

India produces roughly 6 to 7 tonnes of saffron per year, compared to a requirement of 100 tonnes.

To address rising saffron demand, the Ministry of Science and Technology, through the DST, is considering expanding cultivation to several Northeastern states (Sikkim now, and later to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh).

Kashmir and a few Northeastern areas have a lot in common when it comes to climate and geography.

Organic saffron with flowers is growing well in Arunachal Pradesh. Sample plantings were grown in Meghalaya at the Cherrapunji, Mawsmai, and Lalingtop locations.

It will also diversify agriculture in the North-East and give new options for farmers.

Saffron:

The dried stigmas (thread-like portions of the flower) of the saffron plant are used to manufacture saffron spice.

Around the first century BCE, Central Asian immigrants are said to have brought saffron cultivation to Kashmir.

It is related with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and symbolises the region’s rich cultural history.

It is an extremely valuable and expensive item.

Saffron is known as ‘bahukam’ in ancient Sanskrit literature.

It is grown and collected in Jammu and Kashmir’s Karewa (highlands).

Importance:

It improves one’s health and is utilised in cosmetics and medicine.

It is related with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and symbolises the region’s rich cultural history.

Season:

Saffron Corms (seeds) are grown in India throughout the months of June and July, as well as August and September in some areas.

In October, it begins to bloom.

Conditions:

Altitude: Saffron thrives at a high height of 2000 metres above sea level. It requires 12 hours of photoperiod (sunlight).

Soil: It grows in a variety of soil types, but thrives best in calcareous (calcium carbonate-rich), humus-rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 8.

Climate: We require a distinct climatological summer and winter for saffron production, with temperatures ranging from no more than 35 or 40 degrees Celsius in the summer to around –15 or –20 degrees Celsius in the winter.

Rainfall: It also requires a minimum of 1000-1500 mm of rainfall every year.

Saffron production in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir has traditionally been constrained to a small geographical region.

The Pampore area, often known as Kashmir’s Saffron Bowl, is the primary source of saffron.

Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir is a site recognised by the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in India.

Budgam, Srinagar, and Kishtwar districts are also saffron producers.

Saffron from Kashmir was just granted Geographical Indication (GI) designation.

The National Saffron Mission was established by the national government in 2010 to provide financial assistance for the construction of irrigation infrastructure such as tube wells and sprinkler systems that would aid in the development of better crops in the saffron industry.

The Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) and the Government of Himachal Pradesh have agreed to enhance production of two spices, saffron and heeng, respectively (asafoetida).

IHBT will introduce new types of saffron and heeng from exporting nations under this initiative, which will be standardised under Indian circumstances.

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