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J&K plan to promote saffron output

To revive the best quality saffron production in the state and increase its quantity, the Centre and the state governments have come up with a five-year programme under 'saffron mission', which will cost Rs 37218 lakh.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2010 07:58 IST
Amir Karim Tantray

To revive the best quality saffron production in the state and increase its quantity, the Centre and the state governments have come up with a five-year programme under 'saffron mission', which will cost Rs 37218 lakh.

The aim of the 'saffron mission' is to make available best quality saffron in huge quantity in India so that the country doesn’t need to import it from Spain and Iran.

“India has been importing the saffron from Iran and Spain because of the absence of the best quality saffron within the country. Not only that, we haven’t been able to increase the production of saffron which also led the country to i9mport from outside country,” said J&K Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Hassan Mir, while talking to HT.

Mir said, “Jammu and Kashmir is the only state which produces saffron. There was a time when Kashmiri saffron was rated one of the best quality saffron in world but with span of time and less interest given towards it, saffron production suffered a huge jolt.”

“There was a time when saffron farmers were abandoning saffron cultivation in favour of other crops. Now, the saffron production is on the path of revival and we have been able to bring back the interest of farmers in saffron growing,’ Mir added.

To improve the quality and quantity of saffron, government is educating farmers through agriculture universities, extensive department, seminars, trainings and tours.

Mir said, “This will help farmers how to produce best quality saffron. Not only that we are also farmers irrigation facility to farmers so that they will not have to remain dependent on rain water only. Machines are also being provided to lower the manual effort and increase the quantity.”

Under the saffron mission, the J&K government is mostly focusing on the post harvest mechanism.

Mir further said, “The role of the middle man in the saffron marketing has cost the saffron quality most. We will brand the saffron of our state as Kashmir brand so that there is no duplicity of the saffron,” said Mir, adding, “We will establish a quality control lab and are going to introduce the e-marketing which will help both grower and consumer.”