Agriculture growth and instability in production has always remained the subject of great concern. It has been in research and discussion for the past many decades especially after green revolution. Similarly saffron growth and instability in production and marketing has always remained the matter of inordinate concern. It has been in debate every now and then. Even though the need for improving production, productivity, and marketing for saffron is noticeable or evident, the instability in its production and marketing is very detrimental for the overall growth of saffron industry for many whys and wherefores. It will reduce saffron grower’s income and pull out marketing channels, thereby making unhealthy channels in between the grower and end user. In addition, it will increase the bad things and uncertainties associated with its production and marketing. Moreover, it will affect grower’s decisions and allied choices pertaining to adopting scientific technologies and investments too. We know that instability in production has a great bearing upon instability in prices increasing miseries of low income growers (Chand & Raju, 2009).
There are price fluctuations in saffron market almost in all saffron producing and exporting countries. Similarly in Jammu and Kashmir we find huge price fluctuations in saffron market. There are hike in prices from October to November while as a dip in prices from January to march as the market is flooded with saffron from Iran and Spain which are very cheap. Accordingly, there are enormous production instabilities too since price and production have bi-way causality or relationship. It increases vulnerability of saffron growers majority of who are small with very low levels of income.
Indian Green Revolution, which is considered an agricultural revolution in the post independence era has developed curiosity among agriculturists and economists in agricultural growth and instability debate. It brought high yielding variety of seeds, chemical fertilizers, agro chemicals, and better means of irrigation or controlled water provisions coupled with better and advanced cultivation methods. It is therefore an assortment of activities for improvement of agriculture growth and production. No doubt, Green Revolution brought many good things but at the same time in post Green Revolution era agriculture investment has fallen to a great extent, especially during mid 2000’s.
It is a fact that Green Revolution has not affected grower’s decisions to adopt scientific techniques of production. Similarly, it didn’t influence saffron grower’s choices to adopt scientific production methods because majority of them prefer or use traditional means. It is because they have very low level of education and are for that reason ignorant about advanced or scientific production. Many research studies confirm a significant relationship between education and saffron trade. Consequently, government in generic form and agriculture department in particular form alongside all allied bodies must provide wide financial and non-financial support to all those who belong to this trade directly or indirectly. It has dual effect as on one hand it will improve income level of growers so that their income will increase and on the another hand it will increase their efficiency levels as well as their farms. It is very important to provide proper education and training to growers. Seminars, workshops and many other prolific or fruitful activities have to be conducted by higher authorities and scientists so that saffron growth and instability in production and marketing nexus gets resolved and better at the same time with the passage of time.
Binish Qadri ICSSR Doctoral Fellow, Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir ; Quarterly Franklin Member, London Journals Press