Kashmiri villagers collect saffron flowers from a field at Pampore, 20 km(13 miles) south of Srinagar, November 4, 2009. Saffron has been grown in Kashmir since the Mughal period, which began in the 16th century. In highly drained clay-loam soil, the saffron crop is sown on an estimated 17,000 hectares of land in Kashmir in the months of May and June and the flowers are harvested at the onset of autumn. It takes some 170,000 flowers to get a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of the precious spice.Kashmiri saffron is considered the world’s best saffron for its distinctive long, flat and silky threads with a dark red colour, extraordinary aroma, powerful colouring and flavouring capabilities. However, saffron farmers have become concerned at the falling yield of the saffron crop year after year with the changing climatic conditions responsible for a 70 to 75 percent decrease in the yield for the last 16 years.