Srinagar, Oct 26: Saffron growers in the Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district are anticipating a bumper crop this year, saying timely rains have brought a sense of optimism to the agricultural community.
The growers had earlier expressed their initial concerns about a reduced crop due to an extended dry spell. However, recent rains have rejuvenated their hopes.
Abdul Majeed Wani, Chairman of the Saffron Growers Association Kashmir, explained: “Traditionally, saffron blooms are seen around October 20. However, this year, due to the rains and a sudden drop in temperature, the bloom has been delayed, and growers are now anticipating the vibrant saffron flowers to grace their fields from the first week of November.”
Wani highlighted the critical need for rain, especially in saffron lands lacking irrigation facilities. “This timely rain is instrumental in aiding the growth of saffron crops, potentially leading to a bumper harvest, for which the growers have eagerly awaited since 2014,” he said.
He also pointed out the importance of proper drainage facilities in fields to prevent damage to the crop during incessant rains.
Reflecting on the challenges faced by saffron growers, Majeed acknowledged that the absence of functional water pumps, part of the National Saffron Mission, has hindered irrigation efforts during dry spells. However, he remained optimistic, saying that the government’s recent initiatives to promote saffron cultivation would yield positive results soon.
Growers also praised the impact of the Geographical Indication (GI) tag on Kashmiri saffron. This recognition in both international and domestic markets has bolstered the crop’s value, contributing to increased market rates, they said.