About National Saffron Mission

Status Note on Development of Saffron in UT of J&K.

National Mission on Saffron

  • Recent history has shown a decline in the area under cultivation of saffron in Kashmir. The area under Saffron cultivation declined from 5707 hectares in 1996-97 to 3785 hectares in 2010-11. The decline in area was mainly attributed to low benefit cost ratio due to intensive and expensive cost of cultivation, low productivity (1.88 Kg/ ha), Orthodox cultivations methods coupled with various biotic and abiotic stresses, poor plant stand, change in weather pattern resulted in moisture stress at the terminal growth stages were the main factors responsible for decline in crop yields which evaded interests of farming community to pursue saffron cultivation.
  • To give a boost to the saffron production and to mitigate the sufferings of the saffron growers, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, during the year 2010-11 introduced a scheme “National Mission on Saffron”.

The details of project are as under:
Total Project cost: 400.11 Crore
Sanctioned Project Cost: 400.11 Crore
Govt. of India Share: 315.99 Crore
Farmers Share: 84.12 Crore
Period: 9 years (2010-2020)
Funds released as on date 266.1023 Crore
Expenditure as on date: 256.3535 Crore

Project Partners for implementation for National mission on Saffron:

  • Directorate of Agriculture, Kashmir
  • Directorate of Agriculture, Jammu
  • Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology – Kashmir
  • Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture Srinagar-(CITH)
  • National Horticulture Board- NHB

Objectives of the Mission are as under:

  • To make vertical and horizontal improvement in the overall productivity of Saffron.
  • To enhance the quality of Saffron
  • To enhance research and extension capabilities
  • To develop appropriate systems for organized marketing, quality based pricing of Saffron and for formulating direct transactions between growers, traders, exporters and industrial agencies.

Major Components under National Mission on Saffron:

  • Rejuvenation/Replanting of Existing Saffron Areas for improving Productivity
  • Improving Soil Health by INM, IPM and IDM practices.
  • Production of Planting Material in Public Nurseries
  • Strengthening the Irrigation System
  • Enhancing the Product Quality through improved post harvest handling
  • Mechanization
  • Weather station Development
  • Infrastructure development
  • Transfer of Technology
  • Quality testing and Marketing
  • Enhancement of research and Extension Capabilities.

An area of 3715 hectares of Saffron is proposed to be rejuvenated under the mission in phased manner out of which 2578.75 hectares stands rejuvenated as on date, the details are as under.

S. No District Target (Ha) Achievement as on date
01 Pulwama 3200.00 2035.75
02 Budgam 300.00 328.000
03 Srinagar 165.00 165
04 Kishtawar 50.00 50.000
Total 3715.00 2578.75

The production of saffron is an outcome of biological activity which is highly sensitive to changes in weather. The important weather vagaries such as excessive rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind etc. influence the biological process directly or indirectly. For Instance, low soil moisture due to poor precipitation adversely affects corm multiplication resulting in reduced plant density and poor precipitation during growth period results in stunted plant growth which ultimately affects the crop yield/productivity.

Excessive rainfall during early growth cycle period damages corms. Fluctuation in temperature during the crop cycle causes outbreak of pests and diseases. All these abnormal factors results either in partial loss of yield or in complete crop failure which reduces income of farmers. The deviations of weather variables from the normal adversely affected the crop yields and the income, therefore the Department is vigorously motivating the farmers to adopt scientific methods of Saffron Cultivation for higher biological yields i.e. 7.5 Kg/ha which will result in the socio-economic up-liftment of Saffron growers, excess revenue generation, and importantly the State of J&K will maintain the legacy of producing world’s best saffron which is being pursued by way of implementing approved components under Saffron Mission.

Over the years, there has been substantial increase in the crop yields recorded for the areas rejuvenated under National Mission on Saffron from 1.88 kg/ha to 4-5 kg/ha.

Past trend in area, production and productivity of saffron

Year Area(In Ha) Production(In M. Ts) Yield (Kg/ha)
1996-97 5707 15.95 2.80
1997-98 4618 13.39 2.90
1998-99 4116 12.88 3.13
1999-2000 3997 7.65 1.89
2000-2001 2831 3.59 1.27
2001-2002 2713 0.30 0.095
2002-03 2825 6.50 2.28
2003-04 2742 5.15 1.88
2004-05 3143 6.86 2.23
2005-06 3010 6.50 2.15
2006-07 3280 8.20 2.50
2007-08 3280 7.70 2.34
2008-09 3715 9.462 2.50
2009-2010 3715 10.40 2.75

Comparative trends in area, production and productivity of saffron


Rejuvenated under NSM (ha) Rejuvenated Cumulative
(area in ha)
Average yield of rejuvenated area (Kg/ha) Area sown by the Growers under traditional method (in ha) Average yield under traditional method (Kgs/ha)


- - - 3715 2.70


331 331 4.5 3384 2.75


943 1274 4.5 2441 2.75


528 1802 4.8 1913 2.80


157 1959 1.5 (Floods) 1756 1.5 (Floods)


176 2135 5.50 1580 2.80


79.81 2214.81 5.49 1497 2.85


172.90 2387.71 1.64 1323.75 0.0973


74.29 2462 1.75 1253 1.08


116.75 (Liability of previous years) 2578.75 4.7 1136.25 2.54

Production/Productivity of Saffron under National Mission on Saffron

Year Total Area Rejuvenated Cumulative
(area in ha)
Total area under traditional method



Total Production
Rejuvenated area
Total production inclusive from non-traditional areas
Total Productivity
2010-11 3715 - 3715 - 10.03 2.69
2011-12 3715 331 3384 1.489 10.79 2.90
2012-13 3715 1274 2441 5.733 12.445 3.34
2013-14 3715 1802 1913 8.649 14.005 3.77
2014-15 3715 1959 1756 2.938 5.572 1.5 (Floods)
2015-16 3715 2135 1580 11.742 16.166 4.35
2016-17 3715 2218 1497


16.45 4.42
2017-18 3715 2387.81 1323.75 3.92 5.2 1.4
2018-19 3715 2462 1253 4.30 5.653 1.52
2019-20 3715 2578.75 1136.25 12.495 15.12 4.07

Orthodox mindset of farmers have been swayed successfully and the farmers resorted to adopt scientific methodology for promoting saffron cultivation as bold initiatives like prophylactic measures and soil health reclamation measure are being taken which is a game changer in Saffron cultivation with the application of 10.88 T/ha organic manure to the soil for promoting saffron crop production program.

Furthermore, mechanization of Saffron fields has brought down labour cost as the department has distributed Weeders to the Saffron Growers who are shifting towards Scientific methods of Saffron cultivation.

  • Installation of Sprinkler System

Saffron crop requires irrigation at critical stages of crop growth therefore, National Saffron Mission provides a lasting solution for overcoming the water deficit by exploring 128 number of deep production wells which shall be connected with sprinkler system and each sprinkler system does have command of 26-30 ha which will augment the water supply for the saffron crop at its critical stages and will revolutionize the Saffron production/ productivity in Jammu and Kashmir State. The Physical progress under irrigation component is as under:

S. No


Total target

Total achievements


Production Wells


120, 04 under progress


Production wells in private sector





122, 04 under progress


Providing of Sprinkler system


22 completed, 106 Handover/Takeover process under progress

  • Outcomes from various components of National Mission on Saffron vis-à-vis Irrigation:

Saffron crop requires irrigation at critical stages of crop growth, therefore, National Saffron Mission provides a lasting solution for overcoming the water deficit requirement be exploring 128 number of Deep Production wells which shall be connected with sprinkler system and each sprinkler system does have command of 26-30 ha which will augment the water requirement of the saffron crop at its critical stages and will revolutionize the saffron production/productivity in Jammu and Kashmir State and production will get increased and will get registered 8.5 Kg/ha. The Mechanical Engineering Department (MED) as of now has completed only 05 Sprinkler system as on date and the work on rest of the bore-wells shall be connected with the Sprinkler System in Mission Mode so that the same is completed at an earliest.

India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Center (IIKSTC) at Dussu, Pampore
Government of India, Geographical Indication Registry under Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has been pleased to accord Certificate of Registration of Geographical Indication for Saffron produced in J&K.
Saffron produced at farmer fields in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is of best quality which proffers strong flavour, aroma and colour-effect in comparison to Saffron produced across the world and it reaches the market through network of intermediaries who frequently exploit the growers, therefore, a need was felt to maintain the identity of Kashmir Saffron and to eliminate the role of intermediaries from the marketing channel for better pricing for growers in the domestic and international market which will eventually help growers in realize maximum prices which otherwise as on date is a under-priced commodity in the national and international market.
In this endeavor to increase the demand of saffron grown in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, there was a need for evolving a brand for Kashmir Saffron and in this regard Government of India extended a helping hand so that all marketing solutions would be provided to the farmer under one roof and branding of Kashmiri Saffron would be a step towards quality assurance.

The Spice Park/IIKSTC has been constructed under National Saffron Mission at Dussu Pampore. IIKSTC has been constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 37.81 Crore by National Horticulture Board, GoI and is yet to be handed over by the Board to the J&K Government.
Further, the e-marketing model is yet to be connected to the server owing to the internet ban since 05.08.2020.

  • The idea to establish the State of Art facility at IIKSTC has been conceived in order to put in place:
  • Scientific post-harvest handling practices like Stamen Separation, Drying and Grading etc.
  • To enforce adoption of quality standards and fix the price based on Quality grades at farm gate level.
  • To end the menace of spurious saffron and adulteration
  • To carry out regular evaluation and certification of saffron
  • To provide a common facilitation center for E- trading of Kashmir saffron on PAN INDIA Mode.
  • Branding of Kashmir Saffron
  • An overview of IIKSTC:
  • Collection center
  • Cold storage unit
  • Stigma separation unit
  • Quality Evaluation Lab.
  • Drying Unit
  • Processing Block
  • Packaging Unit

E-auction Center


Various post harvest practices:


Maps regarding cultivation of Saffron In J&K:
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