‘Kala Zera, Saffron to change farmers’ fortunes’

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PAMPORE: Saffron Research Station, SKUAST-Kashmir in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi organised a field day-cum­-awareness programme on Kala Zera at Saffron Research Centre Dusoo, Pampore in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Professor Nazeer Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that mixed crop of Kala Zera and Saffron could change the fortunes of farmers and would also secure their livelihood even if one of the crops failed.
He said that the SKUAST-Kashmir was making efforts to generate more income from small areas of land.
“We are trying a variety of spices particularly, Kala Zera which fetches good price in the market,” he said adding that this could take away the desperation of farmers who had been witnessing low saffron production from last many years.
He said that they have brought a variety of exotic varieties of Kala Zera and have also studied its production in wilderness that has been taking place in Gurez, Dras and Kishtiwar.
He said that they have been able to develop a tuber which has very high yield.
“One kilogram of Kala Zera can fetch 3,000 to 5,000 rupees and the production per kannal would be round about 20 kilogram,” he said.
A farmer, Abdul Rashid from Ladhoo Pampore told Kashmir Reader that the production of Kala Zera brought him out of a spell of desperation as “there has been almost no saffron production from last ten years”.
“It cannot compete the prices of saffron but has yielded better results,” he said.

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