Saffron growers in Pulwama express concern over porcupine menace

PULWAMA — Saffron growers in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district are worried as porcupines continue to damage their saffron corms.

Speaking to the news agency KNO, the distressed farmers from Pampore, Lethpora and neighbouring areas said that porcupines have been causing extensive damage to saffron beds, impacting their livelihoods.

Shabir Ahmad, a saffron grower, expressed concern over the severe damage caused by porcupines. He said the production of saffron is directly affected when corms are damaged. “The economic well-being of saffron growers is at stake due to this menace,” he said.

Yasir Ahmad, another grower, said that despite efforts to deter porcupines using lights and horns, the nocturnal activity of these animals remains a serious issue. If immediate measures are not taken, saffron corms may be entirely depleted in the coming years, he warned.

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Unlike other orchardists who have various methods to protect their crops, saffron growers said they face unique challenges.

“Other orchardists have options like covering the trunks of trees, but no such option is available to protect saffron fields from the attacks of porcupines,” Yasir said, adding, “The government must at least consult the technical persons and experts who can guide us on how to get rid of the menace.”

The saffron growers said they have brought this issue to the notice of concerned authorities but no concrete steps have been taken in this regard.

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An official from the Agriculture Department suggested the use of a repellent that emits an odour and deters porcupines for approximately seven days when applied.

The use of lethal methods is prohibited by wildlife regulations, the official said, adding that only humane and non-lethal solutions can be applied to protect saffron crops from porcupine attacks.

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