New germ plasm to increase saffron cultivation in Valley
Srinagar, June 16: Concerned over decline in area and production of saffron in the Valley, the government is contemplating introducing new germ plasm to deal with the problem.
Official sources said in past ten years there has been steady decline in saffron production in the Valley.
“In 1998 the crop was grown on 4161-hectares, which came down to 2880- in 2002. The production in 1998 was 65.25 quintals. Interestingly, in 2004 while the area under saffron was increased to 3025 hectares, the production didn’t rise beyond 48.34 quintals.”
According to officials in Financial Commissioner Revenue in 2008-09 the area under saffron cultivation was 2667 hectares and the production was 56.13 quintals. The yield rate of saffron has been highest in 2007 at 3.75 kg per hectare.
Officials attribute the decline in saffron production and cultivation to lack of adequate irrigation facilities and increasing diversion of agricultural land to urbanization and industrialization particularly in Valley’s saffron belt in Pampore.
Besides, officials say monoculture of the same germ plasm for centuries, poor cultural practice, reluctance of saffron growers for investment in improving their own infrastructure facilities, unprecedented drought liker conditions from 1999 to 2002-03 and in 2008-09 and incidence of corm rot disease have led to decrease in the production and apathy of growers towards its cultivation.
Director Agriculture Kashmir Main Abdul Majeed said a plan has been prepared to increase the production.
“The farmers would be given seed, fertilizers, bore wells for irrigations,” Majeed said. He said the plan has been prepared by the Agriculture Department in collaboration with the Sheri Kashmir University of Agriculture and Sciences. “The plan been submitted to the State Government. The state government would take it with the central government to secure funding,” he added.
The government would try to fix the problem by replacing the existing corms through the introduction of a new variety of germ plasm.
The world’s best saffron is grown in Pulwama and Budgam districts of the Valley. In Jammu its cultivation is limited to district Kishtwar in Chenab Valley.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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