Saffron Bowl Project

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    In Context

    • North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) under Saffron Bowl Project has identified few locations in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya for saffron cultivation.
      • NECTAR is an autonomous body under the DST in collaboration with the Botany and Horticulture departments of Sikkim Central University implemented a pilot project in Yangyang village of South Sikkim.

    About

    • Saffron production has long been restricted to a limited geographical area in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
    • Pampore region, commonly known as Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron production.
    • Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir is one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems (GIAHS) recognised sites in India.
    • Recently, the Kashmir saffron got Geographical Indication (GI) tag status.

    Saffron

    • It is a plant whose dried stigmas (thread-like parts of the flower) are used to make saffron spice.
    • Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE.
    • It represents the rich cultural heritage of the J&K region.
    • It is a very precious and costly product.
    • It is referred to as ‘bahukam’ in ancient Sanskrit literature.
    • It is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of J&K.

    National Saffron Mission (NSM)

    • It was launched in 2010-11 but it was only applicable for the cultivation of saffron in Jammu and Kashmir. 
    • In 2020, the Government has decided to revive this mission and expand the cultivation of saffron to the north eastern part of the country. 
    • It comes under the governance of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    • It was a four-year mission (2010-14) which was introduced to increase the cultivation of saffron in Kashmir. However, due to a heavy loss in production during 2014, the mission was given an extension by the Government of India.
    • In 2020, the revised objective of the mission was to start the cultivation of saffron in the northeast of India.
    • North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) has been given the charge to manage the pilot project which will be started in the northeast for saffron cultivation.

    Source: PIB