The demand for saffron is growing day by day due to its use in medicine and cosmetics in addition to food
Primarily cultivated in south Kashmir’s Pampore and some pockets in Kishtwar district, saffron is all set to be grown in Poonch thanks to a five-year-long research by experts of the University of Jammu.
The varsity’s School of Biotechnology (SBT) on Sunday organised the farmer’s awareness meet for the introduction of saffron cultivation in non-traditional areas in Poonch in collaboration with Poonch Campus of the University of Jammu.
In pursuit of increasing saffron production, a university spokesman said the SBT team led by Jyoti Vakhlu conducted pilot field experiments in various non-traditional regions in Jammu with conducive pedoclimatic conditions to traditional saffron cultivating regions in the years 2018 to 2022.
The pilot study led to selection of Poonch as one of the potential areas for saffron cultivation, the spokesman said adding these pilot studies were conducted in collaboration with progress farmer Aijaz Ahmed, a school teacher from Bylla village in Poonch.
He said the demand for saffron is huge and growing day by day due to its use in medicine and cosmetics in addition to food. However, the yield is on decline due to various reasons, especially climate change and corm rot.
The SBT team which also included Shanu Mangora, Tahir Ali and Nancy Bhagat have developed and evaluated a bioformulation that enhances yield of saffron in fields, the spokesman said.
“Now, in the transdisciplinary project funded by the University, this study is being upscaled and extended to larger areas in non-traditional areas in Poonch. The meet was organised to educate 25 selected progressive farmers about cultivation of saffron using in-house technology,” the spokesman said.