About Us | Contact Us | E-Paper
Title :    Text :    Source : 

Porcupines give tough time to saffron growers 

Expert says herb plant Iris can keep protected wild animal at bay

Post by Javid Sofi on Thursday, December 22, 2022

First slide
Pulwama, Dec 21: The spiked rodent species of porcupine is giving a tough time to saffron growers in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Porcupine is a spiked rodent that is emerging as a serious pest causing damage to different crops and fruit trees.
Irshad Ahmad Dar, a progressive farmer from Patalbagh village in the Pampore area, informed Rising Kashmir that this herbivorous pest has been causing damage to saffron corms for the last five years during winters. 
“This year the fresh damage to planted corms has been seen in saffron fields of Patalbagh, Samboora, Lethpora, Chandhara, Dusoo and other areas,” he said, adding that climate change and damages by porcupines are the two main threats to corm depletion. 
Dar said controlling the rodent has remained a challenge for them. “It is a protected wild animal and as such farmers can’t harm it,” he said. 
Aftab Ahmad, another saffron grower from Lethpora village of Pulwama, said the pest species become active in November and causes most damage from December till February. “They dig out corms from saffron beds and feed on them,” he said, adding that the animal has been damaging almond and apple tree trunks in the surrounding villages.
The farmers have appealed to the agriculture department to chart out a strategy with the wildlife department to address the issue.
Joint Director Agriculture Extension Kashmir, Mohammad Syed acknowledged that porcupine is an issue. “Yes, it is causing damage to crops. We can talk to the wildlife department but the challenge is whether they would be able to control the animal,” he said.
He advised farmers to follow the advisory issued by SKUAST-K to keep these animals at bay.
Wildlife Warden Shopian Division, Intesar Suhail said that the porcupine is known for causing damage to saffron corms since ancient times and for this reason it is named Kong Beuar (saffron cat) in Kashmiri. There are various ways to keep them away, he said, adding that the majority of the methods are too expensive to be afforded by farmers.
Intesar said that the plantation herb plant, Iris, is the easiest method to keep porcupines away. “Iris is a rodent repellent and it is an easy method,” he said.

Latest Post