Indoor saffron farming, saffron cultivation training, Aeroponic technology saffron farming (original saffron), Vertical saffron farming, How to cultivate Kashmiri saffron, Preparing lab for saffron cultivation, Cost of saffron cultivation, Bulbs Selection, profit in saffron cultivation
Vertical Saffron Cultivation: As soon as we hear the name of saffron, the first thing that comes to our mind is the cold valleys of Kashmir and why not goes there, because most of the saffron in India is grown in Pampore, which is located in Kashmir.
Vertical saffron cultivation requires basically measured environment and this environment naturally exists in Jammu and Kashmir valley. Due to the ever increasing population, the consumption of saffron has also increased whereas there has been no significant progress in the production of saffron.
In such a situation, to increase the production of saffron, Iran has developed a new technology “Aeroponic Technology”, by adopting which any interested entrepreneur or farmer can cultivate saffron successfully and very easily in limited short space.
Before cultivating saffron, interested farmers/entrepreneurs need to know some things about saffron. For example, saffron is a plant of the Crocus sativus family. It is used primarily as a spice, which is a popular food item in India and other countries.
Besides, saffron flowers are also used in the manufacturing of beauty and cosmetic products, which indicates a good profit. Due to its many benefits, many farmers and now many talented entrepreneurs have also started cultivating saffron.
It is very easy to cultivate saffron with the modern technology “Aeroponic technique/method” and those who are cultivating it are also making very good profits.
So, what components, equipment and materials will an aspiring entrepreneur need to cultivate saffron using aeroponic technology? Let us know in detail-
Preparing Lab for vertical saffron cultivation-
An entrepreneur wishing to cultivate saffron in a small or limited space needs to prepare a lab equipped with modern machines and equipment. Very little space is required to set up a lab and grow high quality saffron. Let us know which machines and materials are required to grow saffron in the lab-
- Closed environment such as warehouse (minimum 10 X 10 square feet)
- Polyurethane Foam Sheet or Thermocol Sheet (to make the space temperature controlled)
- Cooler/Air Conditioner
- Chillier unit/plant
- Lighting Controller Regulator with White Color LED Light
- Humidity and temperature measuring instrument
- Trays and shelves made of wood (plastic trays can also be used)
- Cultivable soil or pots for transferring bulbs to soil after flowering
Method of preparing lab for vertical saffron cultivation-
- If you have the desired space to prepare the desired lab, it can be done there also. Information about all the equipment used in the lab is mentioned above.
- First of all, after the structure of the lab is ready, heavy equipment like chiller plant, air conditioner, humidifier and electricity etc. along with LED lights has to be installed.
- After this, it is necessary to cover the entire lab with Polyurethane Foam Sheet or Thermocol Sheet (at least 01 inch thickness) to make the outside of the lab temperature resistant.
- A tray made of wood is used (most suitable) to keep the saffron bulb. To make a tray, select such wood (at least half an inch thick), which can store/collect a large amount of moisture within itself. From my experience, you should use common packing (box) wood, it is easily available and at low prices.
- It is best if the size of the tray is maximum 3 X 2 feet (length)
- After all the equipment is installed the tray stand is installed. To cultivate saffron, minimum 03 and maximum 05 level racks are made in each tray stand. In which the measurement of each floor is kept at least 15 to 18 inches in height. This measurement is required to establish the center of the floor rack that will be built into each tray stand.
- If you are setting up 02 or more than 02 tray stands, then it is mandatory to create corridor space between each stand, so that there is no problem in inspecting the saffron bulbs or saffron crop.
- To grow saffron in an area of 100 square feet with 5 level racks/shelves or to do saffron farming in a hall, 5 tons of saffron bulbs/seeds are required.
- Aeroponic technique is used to cultivate saffron in limited space. Now the question comes that what is this aeroponic technique? Let us understand-
What is Aeroponic Technology?
Aeroponic Technology: Aeroponic system is a system of growing plants and producing crops using air and water vapor mist/fog as nutrient source. There is no use of soil in this technique, which makes this technique the most environmentally friendly.
However, aeroponic technology is still in its initial stages. Which conscious farmers and entrepreneurs have started adopting vigorously. The main aspect of aeroponic technology is to grow plants in a vertical system without the use of soil. Aeroponic technology basically promotes vertical farming.
Through aeroponic method, plants have to be grown and crops prepared in an environment created by a mixture of water and normal air. Aeroponic method is very modern as compared to traditional farming methods; this method produces high quality produce/crop with less damage to the plants.
Aeroponic has been developed mainly for successful gardening or farming in small space or limited space. The main advantage of aeroponic technology is that it does not use soil, which conserves resources and reduces maintenance costs.
What can be grown with aeroponic technique?
Aeroponic method is suitable for producing those vegetables/fruits whose roots strongly adapt to conditions like moisture and oxygen, and can also be grown in an artificially created environment with controlled temperature and humidity could be. Like-saffron, potato, brinjal/eggplant, tomatoes, leafy crops and almost all types of crops.
How many times can saffron be grown in a year using aeroponic technique?
With aeroponic technique, saffron crop can be taken only once in a year. Once saffron bulbs have flowered, they require nutrients; it is important to plant them in soil to prevent them from dying and to ensure that they are fully nourished.
Refinement of saffron bulb/seed-
Before doing saffron farming by any method, treatment of saffron bulbs/seeds like disinfection, cleaning of unwanted dirt, removal of extra layers on the seeds and sorting of bad bulbs/seeds are the primary mandatory steps.
After cleaning and sorting, in the last step, the saffron seeds are dipped/soaked in fungicide solution for some time/minutes to make them fungicidal and germ-free. There are two popular methods for making this fungicide solution:
- Organic disinfectant solution
- Chemical based disinfectant solution
Neem oil is used to make natural fungicide. Whereas to make chemical based disinfectant solution, Carbendazim fungicide and acaricide is prepared by mixing it in the ratio of 2:1.
After this the saffron bulb is dried in a shady place until the moisture from the saffron seeds is removed. After this process is completed, the saffron bulb is ready to be grown.
Where can I get saffron seeds?
To cultivate saffron on a commercial scale, saffron bulb can be easily available in the local market of Pampore area in Kashmir.
Apart from this, interested entrepreneurs/farmers can easily purchase saffron bulb online from indiamart and also from CSIR-Himalayan Bio resource Technology Institute located in Palampur.
Saffron seeds basically require a cool environment with around 65 to 80% humidity along with foggy weather to germinate in the open environment. Saffron plant flourishes well in temperatures ranging from 01 degree Celsius to maximum 12 degrees Celsius.
To cultivate saffron through aeroponic method, such an environment is created by arranging the saffron bulbs in a wooden tray prepared inside the lab, such that the saffron bulb/seed feels as if the time for germination has come.
To germinate the seeds, they have to be kept in a cool/dark environment with minimum 01 to 03 degree Celsius temperature, 65 to 75% humidity for at least 07 to 10 days. By doing this the saffron bulbs wake up from summer sleep and the process of growth starts.
After this, when the bulb germinates, it requires light of 800 LUX (lighting scale) with temperature of 5 to 8 degrees Celsius and humidity of 85%.
What should be the average weight of a saffron bulb for successful saffron cultivation?
If you want to easily achieve success in saffron cultivation, then the first step is to select healthy saffron bulbs/seeds. Saffron bulbs with an average weight equal to or above 15 grams are considered most suitable for successful cultivation of saffron.
Cost of saffron cultivation-
The cost of cultivating saffron through aeroponic technique in the first year can range from Rs. 05 to 12 lakh. Since in the first year it is necessary to prepare the lab, purchase necessary machines and gather necessary resources.
Next year, the interested entrepreneur has to spend only on purchasing saffron bulbs as per requirement. Whereas if the interested entrepreneur is willing to cultivate saffron in open environment/field, then after selecting suitable saffron cultivation land, the expenditure will be incurred only on field preparation, saffron seeds and disinfectant etc.
Improved varieties of saffron-
In India, mainly only two improved varieties of saffron are cultivated. Which are as follows-
- Kashmiri saffron or Mogra saffron
- American Saffron
Of these two varieties, Kashmiri saffron, which is known as Mogra saffron, is sold at the rate of around Rs 2.50 to Rs 05 lakh per kilogram in the current market. Whereas American saffron is sold in the current market at the rate of Rs 50 to 85 thousand per kilogram.
Diseases affecting saffron plants-
Generally, when saffron is cultivated using aeroponic technique, no diseases are seen on the saffron plant, because saffron farming is done in a closed room by aeroponic method. But if the interested entrepreneur is or wants to cultivate saffron in open environment/field, then he can mainly face 02 diseases-
- Saffron seed/bulb root-rot
- Spider web problem
Saffron cultivation is a certain temperature dependent agriculture, which cannot flourish without its favorable temperature, hence if saffron bulbs are rotting then there can be 03 possibilities-
- If the crop is collecting excessive amount of water then it is mandatory to manage the drainage.
- The bulb has been infected with pathogens, spraying fungicide is mandatory.
Even when the temperature of the environment increases (about 28 to 45 degrees Celsius), saffron seeds start drying or rotting. In such a situation, it is mandatory to remove the saffron bulb from the ground and transfer it to an environment with favorable temperature.
Generally, when saffron is cultivated in open environment/field, problems like spider web are most commonly seen. The most effective treatment for its treatment is to spray neem oil mixed with water on each saffron plant/bulb.
Where to get training to cultivate saffron by aeroponic method?
Although aeroponic technology is still new in India, it has been adopted only by a very limited number of people. But the future of this technology is very bright.
If you want to get information and training regarding saffron cultivation or growing saffron through aeroponic technique, then you can contact the institutes and subject experts given below-
1. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) located in Palampur-Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India provides training on commercial cultivation of saffron.
2. Training can also be received from subject experts.
Saffron producing state and local name of saffron-
Pampore area of Pulwama in Kashmir state of India ranks first in India with 90 percent saffron production. Apart from this, Jammu and Himachal Pradesh are also the second largest saffron producing states. Apart from this, saffron is also being cultivated commercially in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
In Hindi saffron is known as “Kesar”, in Kashmiri saffron is known as “Kong/Kung”, in Bengali saffron is known as “Zafran”, in Punjabi also saffron is known as “Zafran”, in Gujarati saffron is known as “Keshar”, in Urdu saffron is known as “Zafran”. In Sanskrit, saffron is known by native names like “Asara, Aruna, Asarika, Kunkuma” etc. Also, in English, some places it is also called Jaffron.
Saffron cultivation is completely ready for harvesting in 03 months. Extracting/harvesting saffron from saffron flowers is a delicate and laborious task. Before harvesting saffron, it is important to understand the saffron flower. Saffron flower has three main parts-
- saffron leaves/petals
- Saffron (Stigma) which is basically saffron (red color – used as a spice)
- stamens are yellow
Saffron harvesting is done one by one by hands. During harvesting, all three parts are separated from each other and preserved in separate containers because each part extracted from the saffron flower is in demand.
After harvesting, saffron is dried in light sunlight or in a shady place. After drying, saffron, which is a product used as a spice, becomes ready for sale.
When should saffron flowers be harvested?
To produce high quality saffron, it is advisable to harvest saffron flowers the day after they bloom.
Uses and benefits of saffron-
- Saffron never spoils even if kept for years.
- Saffron is used as flavor and color in milk and sweets.
- In Mughlai cuisine, they are used as a flavoring and seasoning agent.
- Saffron is also an important medicine in Ayurveda. Saffron is used to treat arthritis, infertility, liver enlargement and fever etc.
- Apart from perfumes, saffron is a common but most special ingredient for manufacturing cosmetics (cosmetic ingredients, saffron powder).
- Real saffron is never completely soluble. Due to which it is very difficult to copy it.
How can saffron seeds/bulbs be propagated?
After harvesting, it is important to plant the bulbs in the soil to supply nutrients to the saffron bulbs. On one hand, the bulb becomes healthy by planting it in the soil, while on the other hand; many other small bulbs also develop from the mother bulb.
So the question here is that what type of soil should be selected for good growth of saffron bulb and other saffron bulbs? One of the most important aspects of saffron growing (saffron garden) is soil.
Generally saffron can be grown on loamy, sandy and lime soil but gravelly soil is best for the cultivation of saffron. Also, saffron grows well in acidic soil also. To grow saffron, saffron grows well when the pH of the soil is around 5.5 to 8.5.
If you do not have the desired land or space to grow saffron, then you can prepare the desired soil and grow it in a pot or grow bag. Cow dung manure, nitrogen, phosphorus and potash play a special role in saffron cultivation.
Also, to grow saffron, the temperature should not be above maximum 28 degrees centigrade. But to harvest the crop, temperature of 03 to 17 degrees Celsius and humidity of 65 to 90% are required.
Right time and method of planting seeds-
The method of planting saffron seeds/saffron bulbs is very easy. Each saffron bulb is buried 3 inches deep in the soil and planted. Since buds and flowers start appearing in the saffron bulb from September to October, the cultivation of saffron is only for 03 months.
Therefore, if you want to cultivate saffron through aeroponic technique and increase the number of saffron bulbs, then it is appropriate to plant saffron seeds 6 months before flowering or one day after harvesting.
Profit in saffron cultivation-
In saffron farming, profit is made from saffron flowers in three main ways –
- From flower petals (saffron petals) (demand in cosmetic sector)
- Saffron (stigma) (used as a spice and also in demand in the commercial sector of cosmetics)
- From stamens (demand in cosmetic sector)
To know what is the price of saffron in the current market, you can search on Google with “today’s saffron price”.
Where can we sell ready/prepared saffron?
High quality real saffron is in demand everywhere. You can produce saffron from your farm and sell it at good prices. Apart from this, you can also sell it online.
What is the price of saffron or the value of saffron?
In the current Indian market, the price of high quality saffron is seen between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per kg.
In how many ways is profit made from saffron flower?
Profit is made from saffron flowers in three ways-
1. From flower petals
2. From saffron (stigma)
3. From stamens
In which month do saffron flowers appear?
Under saffron cultivation, saffron flowers start coming from the month of September, this process can continue till the month of October.
How many saffron threads are there in one saffron flower?
There are three threads in a saffron flower.
How much time does it take to cultivate saffron using modern aeroponic technology?
Generally, cultivation of saffron by any method basically takes only 03 months. It takes 03 months to cultivate saffron even with aeroponic technique.
What is the price of best quality saffron?
Kashmiri saffron or Mogra saffron is sold in the current market at the rate of around Rs 2.50 to Rs 05 lakh per kilogram. Whereas American saffron is sold in the current market at the rate of around Rs 50 to 85 thousand per kilogram.
Where saffron is cultivated the most in India?
In India, saffron is cultivated the most (90% of production in India) in the Pampore region of Kashmir. Pampore gets G.I. for saffron production. G.I. Tag (Global Indexing Tag) has also been found.
At the end-
From the health point of view, consuming saffron makes our body healthy, beautiful and disease free, it has been consumed by our ancestors since ancient times, which is an important ingredient for today’s generation as well. The whole world including India is using saffron because of its properties.
Our objective is to provide the best information to all the interested businessmen, entrepreneurs, farmers and farming/agriculture lovers, so that they can improve their agricultural skills and benefit from the organic crops and medicines prepared by them.
Hope you must have got important information about saffron from this article “Vertical Saffron Cultivation/Farming by Aeroponic Technique”, also… If anything is missing or you want to ask something, please do write in the comment box. Till then-
“Best wishes for your successful Farming”