New Delhi, Mar 30 (PTI) Saffron production in the country is estimated to decline 68.15 per cent to 9.12 tonne in the current crop year because of a dry spell in the top growing state of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a government data.

Saffron is also cultivated in Himachal Pradesh. Much of the produce is exported.

As per the agriculture ministry data, saffron output is pegged at 9.12 tonne in 2017-18 crop year (July-June) as against 28.64 tonne in the last year.

The output is expected to go down due to dry spell in critical stage of crop’s growth, it said.

The production was hit badly in 2014-15 crop year to 8.51 tonne because of floods.

According to the ministry, the demand for Indian saffron has increased in the global market due to presence of high quality active components like Crocine, Picrocrocine and Safranal.

Saffron cultivation and export is being promoted under the National Saffron Mission.

A Saffron Park at Dusoo in Pulwana district, Jammu and Kashmir has been sanctioned for providing improved facilities of grading, packaging, e-auctioning and certification that would boost export of the spice.

Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu and ICAR-Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture are implementing innovative practices to boost saffron production and productivity.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.