No one can deny the fact that agriculture has an important role to play in the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. Eighty per cent population of this state lives in villages and depends on agriculture.
The state cannot progress unless the economic condition of this vast majority improves and the standard of living of people gets enhanced. Agriculture itself is a vast field. It’s like a tree which has endless branches. One among them is related to saffron cultivation.
Saffron has several names-Zafran, Kesar, Kang, Kong Posh etc. The Kashmiri name Kong posh, the flowers of Saffron is a representation of originality and transparency. The vast stretches of saffron fields give the impression of a newly wedded bride draped in a saffron shawl taking a nap. Kashmir is known as the valley of flowers. Among several varieties of flowers grown here, saffron has its own importance and utility.
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) belongs to the large family of Iridacee and to the genre Crocus, which includes about 80 species disseminated primarily in the Mediterranean and south-western Asia. Among these, saffron, recognized as the most expensive spice in the world, certainly represents the most interesting and attractive species, for the coloring, bitterness and aromatic power of its dried stigmas. Saffron is a geophite herbaceous plant, whose stigmas have been used from ancient times as a spice in food, as a dye, in perfumes and cosmetics preparation and for medicinal purposes. Nowadays, it is almost exclusively used for food coloring and flavoring, even though recent studies are boosting interest in its medical properties. Saffron is famous only as a sophisticated species; it propagates solely vegetative by means of corms, underground stems performing as storage and reproduction structures, and does not generate seeds or exist as a spontaneous plant.