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Red revolution - saffron cultivation in Udhampur

india Updated: Nov 03, 2009 23:57 IST
Amir Karim Tantray

Red revolution in Udhampur - Apart from valley's Saffron rich district Pulwama and hills of Kishtwar district in Jammu region, Udhampur district has also registered its name in producing high quality saffron.

In a major agriculture breakthrough Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir has successfully produced saffron in the fields of higher reaches of Panchari, Dudu and Basantgarh as the soil and climatic condition of these areas have supported the cause.

In a statement issued here by information department on Tuesday, which confirmed the reports about successful trial production of saffron in the fields of Panchari, Dudu and Basantgarh of Udhampur district.

Deputy Commissioner Udhampur Ajay Khajuria was on a special visit to the area to inspect the magnitude of success registered in trials.

Talking to HT over phone line from Udhampur Ajay Khajuria said, "Saffron has long been known as the golden condiment for being the most expensive in the world. The day is not far away when poor farmers of these remote hilly areas would adopt saffron cultivation for their socio-economic transformation."

"District Udhampur is a place which falls in three climatic zones, sub-tropical, sub-temperate and temperate. Keeping in mind this we tried to carry out the experiment of cultivation of saffron in temperate climatic zone and last year we got success in producing the same," Khajuria said, adding, "We took scientists into confidence and apprised them about the activity. This year also the trial was successfully resulted in to the multiplication of daughter corm lets which yielded healthy and sufficient quantity of flowers."

These areas of district Udhampur have very poor communication facilities and for them to transport fruit and vegetables to the market in fresh condition is very difficult. Saffron production could be a best alternative for the farmers of hilly areas, Khajuria added.

Khajuria further said that the price of saffron in the market is going up and is being imported from abroad. "Owing to the increasing demand of saffron in food industry, it is possible that with the cultivation of saffron in the potential areas of district Udhampur, this demand could be met to some extent."

DC has given the credit of saffron cultivation to the efforts of agriculture department who successfully led this project and made possible to cultivate it in Udhampur.

The price of saffron seed is quite high and is not under the reach of poor farmers, but the DC assured that government would ensure every possible help to the farmers. He said, "It is up to farmers how fast they would take this and whatever assistance they need will be given."