Kashmir, with its favourable climatic conditions, is the only state one thinks of in relation to saffron farming. However, evolving farming methodologies have changed things over the years.
American Saffron, a relatively new crop, can be grown in hot climatic conditions as well, and 27-year-old Sandesh Patil has taken it to his home state of Maharashtra.
Hailing from Jalgaon district, Sandesh was doing his Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine, and Surgery when he realised that the field of medicine did not interest him. Quitting his studies midway, he decided to take up saffron farming and is now earning lakhs in profit.
According to Sandesh, previously, only banana and cotton were grown in the region. However, these crops weren't proving particularly beneficial to farmers, which was why he developed a passion to do something different.
Researching the types of crops that could be grown in the region, he came across saffron farming on the internet and realised it had successfully been done in Rajasthan and many other areas, bringing farmers huge benefits.
His relatives, unaware of the possibilities, opposed the idea. However, he held his ground and the family eventually gave in to his resolution and determination.
Sandesh bought 3,000 plants for Rs 9.20 lakh at the rate of Rs 40 per plant from Pali in Rajasthan, which he planted on his half-acre land. Practising organic farming, he produced 15 kg of saffron in the first year. He sold the produce at Rs 40,000 per kg, which brought in Rs 6.20 lakh. After reducing his various expenses, he earned a profit of nearly Rs 5.40 lakh.
Saffron farming has previously been carried out only in Kashmir and a few parts of the USA. By doing this in a place like Jalgaon in Rajasthan, Sandesh has achieved a remarkable feat.
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