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Crop Improvement
Year : 2010, Volume : 37, Issue : 2
First page : ( 203) Last page : ( 203)
Print ISSN : 0256-0933. Online ISSN : 2231-4563.

Impact of Climate Change on Saffron Industry of Jammu and Kashmir

Nehvi F.A., Lone Ajaz Ahamd, Allai Bashir Ahamad, Yasmin Salwee

K.D. Research Station Sher-e-Kashmir, University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, India

Abstract

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is one of the most important commercial commodity of Indian Agriculture. Jammu & Kashmir State enjoys a virtual monopoly in the cultivation of saffron in the sub-continent. At present, the industry gives an exchequer of Rs 236.55 crores as against the potential of Rs 4642.5 crores. Economic product of the saffron flower is the pistil with a trifid stigma. It is a unique plant whose active period and effective growth occurs in fall and winter. Corm sprouting, flower initiation and time of flowering are the critical stages that are influenced by environmental fluctuations in terms of temperature and availability of water. Day temperature of 23–25°C in the month of September is critical for corm sprouting, whereas, flowering is initiated when the day temperature reaches to 17°C with a night temperature around 10°C. Besides temperature, water is the most critical factor for these changes during September. Any change in the critical limit of any of these factors influences the growth of the saffron plant and finally the production of economic product. Visible impact of climate change on the saffron that is cultivated on karewas in rainfed conditions was observed from 1999 when the production started declining as the State was declared a drought hit state. Till 1999–2000, Kashmir was receiving well distributed precipitation in terms of rain and snow to the extent of 1000–1200 mm which at present has decreased to 600–800 mm. Usually critical months of September and October are dry and thus flowering is delayed due to delayed sprouting which does not correlate with critical limits of day and night temperature thereby, effecting crop productivity. To mitigate the effects of climate change, water requirement of saffron crop was standardized. Crop requires about 700m3 of water to be distributed over 10 weekly irrigations supplemented through sprinkler system. Efforts are being made to create deep bore wells at the saffron karewas of J&K to ensure timely water supply to the saffron fields through pressurized sprinkler system of irrigation so as to correlate critical limits of temperature for sprouting and flowering with water availability.

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Keywords

critical limits, climate change, saffron.

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