Saffron price in Kashmir surge on low production and high demand

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Srinagar, Feb 11 (ANI): Despite the low production, saffron traders in Kashmir are hopeful they would make up their losses with the increase in demand and high prices of saffron in international markets.

The highly prized spice saffron is cultivated on the high plateau land on the southern outskirts of Srinagar and the crop is rain fed.

However, during the last cultivation season, the area received scanty rains causing sharp reduction in saffron yield.

Traders said that the production of saffron in Kashmir during the previous season was around 6000 kg, but last year not even half of it was reaped.

There has been sharp fall in saffron production in Iran also, another major saffron producer in the world, due to draught.

This has doubled saffron prices in the international markets and the saffron cultivators and traders in Kashmir hope that that the price rise would compensate their production loses.

"The cost of the saffron depends on the international market. Globally, the price of the product has increased. It is a good thing that farmers will concentrate more on farming of the crop. Lack of rainfall during the month of August, September and November affected the saffron yield, which fell sharply. But the price of the product has gone up. So, we hope that we would be able to compensate the loss," said Bashir Ahmad Dar, Director of Agriculture, Kashmir.

Despite low production, the demand for saffron continues to be high as it is desired all over the world for its aroma, coloring and aphrodisiac properties.

"There is high demand for saffron, but the production is very less. Now, it costs around 3000 rupees for ten gram of saffron," said Ghulam Nabi Bhat, a saffron grower.

Saffron is one of the world's most expensive spice. The delicate flowers are harvested in autumn.

The flowers begin to grow after the first rains and the blooming period is usually mid-October when the temperature is just right.

Kashmir's cool climate and rich soil with excellent drainage and organic content make the location an ideal thriving ground for this spice, but a lapse in any one of the conditions can spoil the entire crop. By Parvez Butt (ANI)

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