Saffron bowl to expand to the North East soon
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Geography & GS-III – Agriculture
- The saffron bowl, which was so far confined to Kashmir, may soon expand to the North East of India.
- Plants which were transported from Kashmir to Sikkim, acclimatized there and are now flowering in Yangyang in the Southern part of Sikkim.
- Saffron production has long been restricted to a limited geographical area in the Union territory of J&K.
- 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.
- North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), an autonomous body under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India supported a pilot project to explore the feasibility of growing saffron in North East region of India, with the same quality and higher quantity.
- The Botany and Horticulture department of Sikkim Central University carried out tests to understand the soil and actual pH conditions of Yangyang of Sikkim and found it comparable to saffron growing places of Kashmir.
Important value additions
- It 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.
- It represents the rich cultural heritage of the J&K region.
- It is a very precious and costly product.
- It is referred to as ‘bahukam’ in ancient Sanskrit literature.
- It is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of J&K.
- Uses: (1) It rejuvenates health; (2) It is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
- It is usually cultivated during June and July and at some places in August and September.
- Saffron grows well at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level.
- It needs 12 hours of sunlight.
- It grows in many different soil types but thrives best in calcareous (soil that has calcium carbonate in abundance), humus-rich and well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 8.
- Temperature: Ranging from 35 or 40 degree Celsius in summer to about –15 or –20 degree Celsius in winter.
- It also requires adequate rainfall that is 1000-1500 mm per annum.
Do you know?
- 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.