Executive Summary :
Objective: (i) Modification of the existing tissue culture protocol of CSIR-IHBT for cost efficiency.
(ii) Production of disease free corms of agronomically accepted weight in farmers’ field through the use of PGPM & other technological intervention.
(iii) Mobilization of marginal farmers for development of Kangra region of H.P. as a hub for disease free corm production.
Summary: The gap between demand and supplyof disease-free-corms (planting material)of saffron is 266 crores (i.e., for 30 tonnes of spice production). This is mainlydue to soil-borne fungal diseaseincidence (>81%). In contrast, tissue culture (TC) ensuresdisease-freecorms production in geometricallyprogressive numbers. Although the existing TC-protocol of CSIR-IHBT isup-scalablein start-ups and marginal-farmers field, the cost of each TCraised corm ishighand takes 18 months to gain a size of >10 g.These need modification for agronomic feasibility. Therefore, we proposeto (i) reduce the cost of TC-raised corms by 60%, (ii) isolate and use potential PGPMs for quality corm production (iii) grow PGPMtreated, cheaperTC-raised corms in fields of ‘marginal farmers’ of Kangra district, H.P. for up-scaled production at reduced time and also (iv) optimize methods for harvesting and post harvest handling and storage of corms by farmers of H.P. The outcome of the proposal will beenhanced productivity of saffron by making quality corms and PGPM available for saffron growers.