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India - Saffron ready for harvest destroyed by snowfall

More than 20,000 families in over a hundred villages of Pampore are involved in cultivating saffron. Saffron farmers have suffered huge losses in the past 10 years with the 2014 floods causing severe damages. Farmers have been demanding compensation from the state government for the 2014 losses, but instead of the compensation has now arrived untimely, heavy snowfall, damaging as much as half the total crop.

Farmers told that they have been demanding a crop insurance scheme from the government since many years. Abdul Majid Wani, president of the Saffron Growers Association, said that the association members have sent representations to higher officials including Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Chief Secretary to J&K government.

He said that they have been assured compensation after assessment of the loss is done.

Chief Agriculture Officer Pulwama Mohammad Yousuf Shah told that the flowers that had bloomed have been destroyed by the snowfall, but if the temperature rises in the coming days more flowers are expected to bloom.

He told that if there is no bloom from now onwards, the estimated losses incurred by farmers would be up to Rs 70 crore.

He further told that the crop loss so far has been more than 50 percent.

Saffron growers have been claiming that the industry was already on a decline for years and the government has done nothing to revive the sector.

Saffron growers in Pampore have incurred losses at a time when the crop was ready to be harvested.

“The saffron industry is declining every passing day. Many farmere are desperate and are trying to find opportunity to transform their lands either into orchards or into residential and commercial uses,” said a farmer, Mohammad Sultan, adding that the much-hyped ‘saffron mission’ of the government has only led to decline in saffronproduction since it was launched.

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