It is a very dangerous and controversial practice in South India. In 2013, a total of 26 women were killed in Maharashtra for growing saffron.
“Saffron has no healing properties. This is why hundreds of women in India are being killed right now for growing saffron. Women are dying before our eyes,” said Ajay Patil of the Indian saffron association.
How does the practice of saffron farming get started?
According to Saffron Federation of India, this is because one needs a lot of saffron flowers to produce saffron oil. This has been done in South India by women who do this to make a living.
“It is not a legal business, neither is it illegal. In fact, it is a very legal business and there are no rules or restrictions for women to start or grow a business on this. It is a social custom,” Patil said.
How is it used?
It is a traditional traditional medicine in South India. Many experts say that the health benefits of the saffron are not the only reason people start growing it.
In fact, many people use it as a natural remedy for everything from chronic pain to rheumatic disease.
“There are also health benefits to saffron. There are many health benefits from growing it. It can help the joints and can cure arthritis, it has natural antibacterial properties which are beneficial for the skin,” added Patil.
How do people in South India make money from it?
“There are many women who start this business as they want to make a living by collecting saffron. There are people whose families have been growing a lot of saffron and they have lost their job and they now want to keep on growing saffron using these women like mothers did for decades,” Patil added.
So what are the drawbacks of growing saffron?
“When a tree starts to grow, it will bring you bad luck, whether you like it or not. People in South India will tell you that you must eat it or that you must wear saffron and get it in your clothes,” Patil said.
Where can I get saffron?
According to the Indian saffron federation, people can purchase saffron at any corner store.
The most commonly grown varieties of saffron are:
• Ganga saffron