Northeast might see saffron cultivation, pilot project in Sikkim

The saffron bowl, which was so far confined to Kashmir, may soon expand to the Northeast as the North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) has supported a pilot project to explore the feasibility of growing saffron in the region, with the same quality.

According to the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the saffron plants seeds, which were transported to Sikkim and acclimatized, now flowering in Yangyang in the southern part of the hill state.

As saffron growing was confined to very specific areas in Kashmir, its production remained limited. 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.

The NECTAR, an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology, coordinated with the Botany and Horticulture department of Sikkim Central University and carried out tests to understand the soil and actual pH conditions at Yangyang in Sikkim and found it comparable to saffron growing places of Kashmir.

The saffron seeds and corms were irrigated during the month of September and October, which ensured timely corm sprouting and good flower yields.

The matching of climatic and geographical conditions between Pampore (Kashmir) and Yangyang (Sikkim) led to the successful sample farming of Saffron in Yangyang.

The project also focused on post-harvest management and value addition of saffron so that quality saffron drying and efficient post-harvest processing can improve saffron recovery, thereby improving its production, the DST said in statement.

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