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news details
Snowfall hits saffron production badly
11/11/2019 9:28:38 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Nov 11: The saffron production has been massively hit by the recent snowfall in Kashmir.
Saffron production was expected to increase by 200 percent increase in the valley this year than 2018.
Data shows that the saffron production has seen a spike this harvesting season as compared to last year, which saw a minimum production of two tonnes.
The Agriculture Department had made an assessment and expected seven tonnes of saffron production this year.
However, President, Saffron Growers Association, Abdul Majeed Wani said that snowfall has hit the saffron production.
"Almost 30 percent of saffron production has been damaged by the snow. There will now be less than 5 tonees of saffron production," Wani said.
The harvesting of saffron starts from last week of October till November end.
He said that decline in saffron production last year was due to dry weather. "The production of saffron was expected to increase only by irrigation facilities," he said.
Wain claimed that farmers have started using the new technology under a centrally sponsored scheme 'National Mission on Saffron'.
"The irrigation component within the scheme is still incomplete. The production would have seen steady increase every year if the irrigation facilities are made available," he said.
Saffron flowers are sensitive to vagaries of the weather. Its production depends on the weather conditions and the irrigation facilities.
To give boost to the saffron production, ministry of Agriculture and Production, Government of India started a scheme 'National Mission on Saffron' in 2010 for seven years with project cost of Rs 400.11 crore in Kashmir. So far, the government has utilised only Rs 203 crore.
Unable to meet March 2019 deadline, the centre has extended the time period for completion of scheme to March 2020.
A senior official of Agriculture Department blamed the saffron growers for "not coming forward" to get benefits under the scheme.
He said land mafia was creating hurdles for laying of pipe network for irrigation facilities. "There is target of 126 tube wells of which 116 have been completed. Once the process is completed, there will be significant increase in saffron production," he said.
As per the official figures, saffron crop was being cultivated on 5707 hectares of land at Pampore in 1996, which has now reached to around 3500 hectares.
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