Sikkim: SU starts multi-locational trial to cultivate expensive saffron

Saffron the most expensive spice in India finding new roots in Sikkim. Following the Yangyang village in South Sikkim producing the first crop of saffron in September as a pilot project. Now, the Sikkim University has been exploring the possibility of saffron (kesar) cultivation in the state and cultivation has been conducted in high altitude locations throughout the state.

According to a report, Dr Arun K Sarma, Director General, North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) said that the crops have been grown across 1,000 square meters and once the saffron’s quality is determined, it will be multiplied tenfold in Sikkim.

A press release, from the Sikkim University, informs that the university’s vice-chancellor, Prof. Avinash Khare, and a team of researchers managed to meet online with the director of the Agriculture Department in Kashmir and several saffron experts to discuss various aspects of saffron cultivation. Following that, a team from Sikkim University travelled to Kashmir to learn about the spices cultivation techniques through visits to several farms and the Kashmir Saffron Centre of Excellence, as well as extensive interactions with farmers.

According to sources, the Sikkim University plans to monitor the adequacy of flowers from various locations and to conduct an extensive survey on soil and climatic parameters to correlate the yield and quality of saffron and, ultimately, to identify potential areas in the state. Also, before recommending commercial cultivation, the university will explore the management aspects for increasing productivity and economic feasibility over the next few years. So far, the results indicate that saffron cultivation in Sikkim is a viable option. High-altitude areas with prolonged and chilly winters with well-drained soil are ideal for saffron cultivation.