Shopian, Nov 22: A progressive farmer from south Kashmir’s Shopian district has successfully grown both indoor and outdoor saffron, setting an example for others.
Haroon Rashid (54), a resident of Vehil village in Shopian, has cultivated saffron in a large hall of his house as well as on the slab of his house. He is the first grower from the district to cultivate both indoor and outdoor saffron, as saffron is primarily grown in the Pampore area of Pulwama district.
Speaking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Haroon said he has been growing various vegetables, fruits and even some medicinal plants on the slab of his two-storey house for the last six years.
While cultivating different kinds of vegetables and fruits, he sought the attention and guidance of officials from the horticulture and agriculture departments, who consistently supported him.
Haroon said that during his interactions with officials, he learned about indoor saffron. With the help of KVK Balpora Shopian and India International Kashmir Saffron Trade Centre (IIKSTC) Dusoo Pampore, I started indoor saffron cultivation, and it showed very positive results, he said.
He independently started growing outdoor saffron using hydroponic techniques, and that too yielded positive results. “Although outdoor saffron cultivation was on a smaller scale, the crop was successfully harvested in the very first year, while indoor saffron is currently in bloom, and higher yields are expected compared to the previous year,” he said.
Haroon said that increased saffron production can easily meet demand, and people without land can also grow saffron in their homes. He said the farmers should work hard and take advantage of various government schemes, along with guidance from scientists and officials, to achieve significant results.
“Indoor saffron cultivation is a reality and has shown positive results so far. It remains unaffected by climate change, extensive rain, or heat, making it a viable option,” the farmer said.
According to officials, climate change has impacted various crops, including outdoor saffron, which now requires irrigation. They said that in such circumstances, indoor saffron can play a vital role in meeting the demand and supply of this valuable spice— (KNO)