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Indian Innovator Spearheads Aeroponic Saffron Revolution

Eds Note: This is one of those rare stories we come across from time to time. In this case the original news needed translation from Hindi to English. Perhaps some of the context was lost in the process but we have researched deeper and have come up with a small but highly inspirational piece.

This is an inspiring blend of traditional spice cultivation and modern technology.


Shubha Bhatnagar, is undoubtedly an enterprising woman from Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, where she is pioneering a method of growing crocus flowers from which saffron is derived using aeroponics. Her successful endeavor is revolutionising saffron production in India, traditionally limited to the unique climate of Kashmir.

Shubha Bhatnagar tending her crocus flowers

Source: https://www.aajtak.in -Shubha Bhatnagar, tending to her crocus flowers


The cultivation of saffron, the most coveted spice for its flavour and medicinal properties (worth around USD$15,000 /kg), has always been geographically exclusive to cold regions, primarily Iran and Kashmir in India. (It is also being grown in New Zealand's Central Otago and Te Anau). This limitation however, has resulted in significant shortages within the country, compelling reliance on imports.


However, Shubha Bhatnagar's ingenuity has led to a monumental shift. She converted an air-conditioned hall of 550 square feet into an innovative aeroponic farm, where saffron grows without soil and using minimal water.

The crocus flower yields the saffron

Source: Dreamstime

Shubha's journey began with a spark of curiosity followed by a strong desire to do something different. Her research led her to the aeroponic technique, a soilless cultivation method where plants receive nutrients via a mist environment. She imported 2,000 kilograms of saffron seeds from Pamproo, Kashmir, sowing them in wooden trays in August. By November, her efforts bore fruit, or rather spice, as the saffron was ready for harvest.

Crocus flowers

Source: Dreamnstime - The Crocus flower yields the saffron

The project, while costly at Rs 25 lakh, (around USD$30k) has significant implications for local supply and employment. Shubha Bhatnagar has chosen not to export her produce, focusing instead on alleviating the Indian domestic shortage of saffron. Beyond augmenting supply, her venture promises to empower rural women by creating new job opportunities in agrotechnology.

Shubha Bhatnagar's success is a beacon of innovation in agriculture. It demonstrates how technological advancements can transform traditional farming practices, offering a sustainable and scalable solution to crop cultivation in non-native environments.


This pioneering work is not just about growing a spice but also sowing the seeds for a future where technology and tradition create new possibilities for self-sufficiency and economic growth in rural India.


For more information CLICK HERE


For more information about NZ Saffron growing CLICK HERE and HERE


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