Experimental Growing of Saffron in Sikkim

In News

An experiment to grow saffron is underway in Sikkim.

In-Detail

  • In India, the cultivation of saffron one of the most expensive spice is limited to a few areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Now, the Ministry of Science and Technology with the help of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)is looking to extend its cultivation to some northeast states.
  • In the Yangyang village of South Sikkim, a pilot project has been done and the results were successful.
  • In September, the DST had produced the first crop of saffron across 1,000 square metres.
  • After the quality is assessed, the crop will be scaled up ten times in Sikkim itself.
  • The saffron cultivation has been limited to Pampore, Budgam, Srinagar and Kishtwar districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Annually, India cultivates 6 to 7 tonnes of saffron.
  • A kilo saffron costs Rs1.5 to Rs 2 Lakhs.
  • The idea of cultivating the saffron in other areas was given by the NECTAR scientists.
  • In Sikkim, this project collaborates with the Botany and Horticulture department of Sikkim Central University.
  • Scientists tested the soil pH in Yangyang and compared with the soil where saffron is grown, especially Pampore area.
  • A Pampore based farmer was appointed to grow the saffron.
  • Seeds were collected from Pampore and scheduled like those undertaking in Kashmir which is followed in September and October.
  • At sub-zero temperatures, saffron needs to be underground for about 45 days.
  • Once when sown, in August it requires adequate rain.
  • The department, transported the saffron seeds by air from Kashmir to Yangyang.
  • During September and October, the seeds were irrigated with timely sprouting and good flower yields.
  • Scientists are looking to extend the cultivation of saffron to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
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