SRINAGAR:  Director Agriculture, Choudhary Mohammad Iqbal on Tuesday said that the government is actively working to enhance irrigation facilities for saffron growers to boost production.

Director Agriculture said the National Saffron Mission, initiated in 2010-11 under one scheme, received an extension and was later included in the MIDS scheme. He expressed gratitude to the Government of India for it.

On Task: Saffron’s aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange colouring to foods.

He said that over the past two years, the government has been diligently pursuing funding for the Mechanical Engineering Department to expedite pending work. “This effort is aimed at providing proper irrigation facilities to growers at the earliest, he said, adding that the department is committed to addressing the concerns of saffron growers and ensuring they face no challenges.”

Regarding the conversion of land for alternative crops like mustard or apple trees, Choudhary Iqbal said that as per recommendations, only almond trees can be planted in these fields.

“We have raised this issue with the relevant authorities and will continue advocating for the growers’ interests,” he said, adding, “Ultimately, the land belongs to farmers, and they have the freedom to plant what they choose.”

Director Agriculture said that the department is actively educating and assisting growers to enhance their production and income.

Regarding this year’s saffron production, Iqbal explained that various parameters are used to measure production. “ Sowfall in upper areas in October, resulted in a dip in temperatures, which in turn delayed saffron bloom,” he said.

Once saffron reaches its optimal temperature, full bloom is expected, and any necessary improvements will be prioritised accordingly, he assured—(KNO)


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