Kesar Farming in India and How to Start

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Hello! Starting a Kesar (saffron) farm in India can be quite a rewarding venture, considering saffron’s high market value and its growing demand. Kesar farming, especially in regions like Kashmir, where the climate and soil are ideal, is known for producing some of the highest quality saffron in the world. Here’s a friendly guide to help you embark on your Kesar farming journey:

  1. Soil Selection: The first step is selecting the right type of soil. Saffron thrives best in well-drained, sandy loam soil with a pH level between 6 and 8. Ensure the soil is rich in organic matter but avoid heavy, clayey soils​​.
  2. Choosing Saffron Bulbs: Opt for high-quality saffron bulbs, which are essentially the corms of the Crocus sativus plant. The bulbs should be large, healthy, and disease-free, ensuring better growth and yield​​.
  3. Planting the Bulbs: Plant the bulbs at a depth of 10 cm and spaced about 15-20 cm apart. The best time for planting is between July and October, allowing the bulbs to establish themselves before the winter season​​​​.
  4. Caring for Your Crop: Saffron requires minimal watering; it’s crucial to keep the soil slightly moist but not waterlogged. Regularly check the soil moisture and water accordingly. Also, maintain a weed-free environment and ensure the plants get sufficient sunlight​​​​.
  5. Harvesting: The harvesting period is critical and labor-intensive, usually occurring from mid to late October. You’ll need to handpick the flowers, preferably during the early morning to ensure the best quality of the saffron stigmas​​.
  6. Drying and Storage: After harvesting, the saffron stigmas (the part of the flower that is used as a spice) need to be dried carefully. Proper drying is crucial for maintaining the spice’s potent flavor and aroma. Once dried, store the saffron in airtight containers away from light to preserve its quality​​.

Yield-wise, you might want to note that it typically takes about 150-160 flowers to produce 1 gram of dried saffron. Initially, you might find that not all corms will flower, but the flowering rate improves as the plants establish over the years​​.

Embarking on saffron farming requires patience and attention to detail, given the crop’s high value and specific growing requirements. It’s a long-term investment that, if done correctly, can be quite profitable and fulfilling.

Make sure to follow these steps carefully and always look to gain more insights from local experts or agronomists familiar with saffron cultivation in your specific region. Happy farming!

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