Business : Saffron plantation.
Business type : Agriculture.
Suitable for : Anyone with arable land.
Saffron is one of the costliest spices used all over the world for its texture, smell, and medicinal values. In India, women are compelled to drink milk with saffron during and after pregnancy. Saffron growing is common in Iran, Europe and Indian sub continent, but it can be grown anywhere with little amount of water since it can with stand a vast range of climatic conditions.
What makes saffron so costly?
Saffron is often compared to gold for its price and demand. Why is that? There are mainly three reasons which re mentioned below.
1.Saffron growing is a labour intensive work. You have to grow at least 100,000 flowers to produce a kilogram of saffron. Each flower should be attended and stigma of each flower should be extracted and dried to get the final product. This is really labour intensive.
2. Saffron is one of the precious spices in the world. Saffron is used exclusively in many special dishes including biriyani. So, there is always an overwhelming demand for saffron in food industry.
3. Saffron is claimed to be one of the best medicinal products and it is associated with medicines given to cure impotency, skin related diseases and for beauty products. Medicinally, saffron has a very good market demand from many pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic companies.
I want to grow saffron, where should I start from?
Saffron can be grown in any climatic conditions that are warm and humid. Texture of the soil is more important than the climate. Saffron grows in loose soil which is enriched with organic compound. It DOES NOT GROW in heavy clay soil. Make sure you have a loamy soil to start with.
How to plant saffron?
vegetative propagation of saffron plant is done through ‘corms’ which is a bulge like structure in the stems. The corms should be planted in rows 10 cm beneath the surface and 10 – 12 cm away from each other. These corms produce 3-5 new corms in three years. A plant is replaced after 5 yields for better results. The plantation hardly needs irrigation. Irrigation is only done once a month during the driest season. The spice is nothing but the 3 stigmas of the saffron flower. This stigma is then dried for 15 – 30 minutes in 60 degree celsius. This spice is then packed in air tight container for at least a month before shipping.
What is the yield of saffron per acre?
Yield of saffron depends on the age of the plantation. A one year old land may only produce 1 to 3 kilo grams per acre. A 4 year old plantation can yield up to 6 kilo grams. A kilo gram of pure saffron is currently sold at a rate of 7000$ – 10000$ in the US. The spice has a very high demand in countries like China, India, Iran, and European countries.
How do I sell my product at the best price?
– Best way to make profit with this spice is to cut the labour cost. Labour is needed only during the planting season and flowering season.
– Saffron can be stored for years, so you don’t have a hurry to sell your product. Contact cosmetic and medicinal companies if you have bigger plans. If your yield itself is about 5 to 10 kg, then you can pack and sell your product directly to the consumers through platforms like amazon.