Baramulla: Three years back, the Department of Botany of the Government Degree College (GDC), Baramulla started exploring the possibility of growing saffron on 5-marla land within the college premises.
The experiment yielded tremendous results.
The produce has all the constituents a saffron flower possesses.
The faculty members are now exploring the possibility of cultivating saffron in the Kandi belt of Baramulla, which has perfect soil composition for saffron cultivation.
The experiment started in 2021 after the Department of Botany as part of promoting agro-based skill training to the college students decided to prepare saffron beds on a designated piece of land within the campus of the college.
The officials used 40 kg of corms (bulbs) and planted those in September last year.
“The graded corms each weighing 8 gm and above were sown 6 inches deep in soil with 6 inches spacing between corms,” said Associate Professor Abdul Majeed Chalkoo. “The results were encouraging. The saffron constituents like crocin, picrocrocin, and saffranol content of stigma were at par with the saffron cultivated in the saffron-rich belt of Pampore.”
Encouraged by its first attempt, the faculty of the Botany Department has now planted 50 kg of new corms this month.
The students are now being imparted training about flower morphology, stigma separation, collection, and drying techniques.
The project is approved by the Science, Technology, and Innovation Council of Jammu and Kashmir.
Following the successful results, the faculty members of the department have identified a piece of sizeable land at Shrakwara Wagoora in the Baramulla district and the attempt is aimed at broadening saffron cultivation prospects in the climate-suitable area of Kandi Baramulla.
Chief Agriculture Officer Baramulla, Yadwinder Singh, along with other officials visited the GDC Baramulla a few days back and inspected the saffron field there.
Singh said that the results obtained at GDC Baramulla were encouraging.
He said that the Department of Agriculture, Baramulla too would try to explore the possibility of its plantation in the Kandi area which has prospects for saffron cultivation.
“We have received some funds for the medicinal plant farm,” Singh said. “We will start to work on saffron cultivation in the Kandi belt of Baramulla district.”
Prof Ajaz Ahmad Wani of the University of Kashmir (KU) said that before going to expand saffron cultivation on a large scale, soil composition and climate need to be taken into account.
“It is important to study saffron behaviour besides soil composition for large-scale cultivation. The behavioural study of saffron corms for daughter corm production is necessary for commercial scale corm and area expansion,” Prof Wani said.