[Answered] Enumerate the agro-climatic conditions required for saffron cultivation. Discuss the initiatives launched in India for promoting Saffron cultivation.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some agro-climatic conditions required for saffron cultivation. Also write some initiatives launched in India for promoting Saffron cultivation.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Pampore region, commonly known as Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron production. Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir is one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems (GIAHS) recognised sites in India. India occupies the 2nd largest area but produces approximately 7 percent of the total world production.

Agro-climatic conditions required for saffron cultivation:

  • Altitude:Saffron grows well at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level. It needs a photoperiod (sunlight) of 12 hours.
  • Soil: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.
  • Climate: need of explicit climatological summer and winter with temperatures ranging from not more than 35 or 40 degree Celsius in summer to about –15 or –20 degree Celsius in winter.
  • Rainfall:It also requires adequate rainfall that is 1000-1500 mm per annum.

The following initiatives are launched in India for promoting Saffron cultivation:

  • TheNational Saffron Mission was initiated in the year 2010 to extend support for creation of irrigation facilities through tube wells and sprinkler sets which would help in production of better crops.
  • 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.
  • A new saffron park has been started for the purpose of processing and promoting the sale of saffron from the Kashmir Valley.
  • With the introduction of GI Tagging and new techniques of processing, the quality of Kashmir’s saffron has been raised to be among the top in the world.
  • Now Saffron of Kashmir is available at ‘NAFED’ shops across the country which will give a lot of impetus to the cultivation of saffron in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC) provided an e-auction for the Saffron growers and fetching them double the prices for their crop.

A proper strategy must be devised so that the saffron growers get full benefits. The adoption of latest technologies will not only increase the production but will also ensure better quality.

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