Pulwama, May 31: The Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Kashmir ( SKUAST-K) is mulling to develop model saffron gardens along national highway ( NH) in Pampore area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district for promoting the heritage crop and wooing tourists.
Talking to Rising Kashmir Dr Nazir Ahmad Ganie, vice chancellor, SKUAST-K , said that there has been an increase in inflow of tourists to Kashmir during the past couple of years.
He said that a large number of tourists come to Kashmir during March and April to visit Tulip Garden in Srinagar.
“Similarly, many tourists throng the valley during saffron season in September and October to enjoy their leisure moments in blossoming fields of Pampore and adjoining areas,” the vice chancellor said, adding that they have identified some saffron growers along the national highway and are in talks with them.
“ We want to turn their fields into model saffron gardens,” he said, adding that it will have double benefits.
The vice chancellor elaborated the first benefit is that there will be an increase in farmer’s productivity and second is that the tourists will have an opportunity to experience quality saffron flowers from very close and to see how it is grown and cultivated.
He said that it is their endeavour to promote saffron tourism along the national highway in Kashmir.
The vice chancellor added that the holistic agriculture development programme ( HADP) prepared by the Jammu and Kashmir government has a thrust on promoting saffron, increasing its productivity in the traditional belt and expanding it to non-traditional areas.
He added that the varsity is also proposing to replicate a centre of excellence( Advance research station for saffron and seed spices) like saffron farming in the Dusso area.
He said that they have been able to achieve a yield of 5 kilograms per hectare of saffron at Varsity’s advanced research station for saffron and seed spices at Dusso.
“The productivity of saffron by farmers outside our research centre is very low,” he said, adding that they wish to replicate their model of farming in the surroundings of the research centre in Dusso.
“We are convincing farmers to adopt our technology for increasing their productivity and have held several meetings with them,” he said, adding that so far the response from farmers has been positive.
He said that they will be training some farmers particularly for corm production for reviving the quality saffron cultivation.