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03 Feb, 2022

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Saffron cultivation in India

GS-III : Economic Issues Cropping patterns in various parts of India

  • Saffron is a plant whose dried stigmas (thread-like parts of the flower) are used to make saffron spice.

  • Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE.
  • Pampore region, in India, commonly known as Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron production, followed by Budgam, Srinagar, and Kishtiwar districts.
  • Saffron has traditionally been associated with the famous Kashmiri cuisine.
  • It’s its medicinal values were considered as part of the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir. As saffron growing was confined to very specific areas in Kashmir, its production remained limited.
  • The saffron bowl, which was so far confined to Kashmir in Pampore (Karewas), may soon expand to the North East of India.
  • Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir is one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems (GIAHS) recognised sites in India.
  • Plants from seeds transported from Kashmir to Sikkim and acclimatized there are now flowering in Yangyang in the Southern part of the North-East state.
  • Saffron production has long been restricted to a limited geographical area in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

National Mission on Saffron

  • Though the National Mission on Saffron focused on several measures to improve its farming, the measures were still limited to the specified areas of Kashmir.
  • The National Saffron Mission (launched as a part of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana) was sanctioned by the central government in the year 2010 in order to extend support for creation of irrigation facilities through tube wells and sprinkler sets which would help in production of better crops in the area of saffron production.
  • Recently, the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) and the Government of Himachal Pradesh, have jointly decided to increase the production of the two spices namely, Saffron and Heeng (asafoetida).
  • Under this plan, IHBT will be introducing new varieties of saffron and heeng from the exporting countries and will be standardized under Indian conditions.

Saffron Bowl Project

  • North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) under Saffron Bowl project has identified few locations in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya for saffron cultivation.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, there is a good growth of organic saffron with flowers.
  • In Meghalaya, sample plantations were grown at Cherrapunji, Mawsmai and Lalingtop sites.
  • The total cost of the whole project is Rs. 17.68 lakhs for Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. Out of which, a tentativeamount of Rs.6.00 lakhs has been earmarked for Barapani (Meghalaya) site.
  • The following sites have been identified in Meghalaya under the said project: Barapani, Cherrapunji, Mawsmai, Shillong, and Lalingtop.

Source: PIB

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