Spice Park to revive saffron cultivation, increase farmers’ income: Agri minister

Spice Park to revive saffron cultivation, increase farmers’ income: Agri minister

Visits Pampore saffron fields, inspects ongoing works

Pampore: Taking stock of various ongoing works under Saffron Mission, Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura and Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Mir Zahoor Ahmad on Saturday had an extensive tour of Saffron fields in Pampore.
The ministers also visited Spice Park at Dusoo, Pampore and had a review meeting with senior officers working under NSM (National Saffron Mission). NSM was launched in 2010-11 in Jammu and Kashmir in order to increase the production of saffron.
The ministers visited Munpora, Lethpora, Dusoo and several other villages and took stock of sprinklers being constructed under NSM.
Hanjura said that JK Government would ask Government of India (GoI) for extension of National Saffron Mission (NSM).
He said, in consultation with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, he would persuade GoI for its extension.
He said that the government was on path to redeem the glory of Saffron.
“Many things are yet to be done and the mission needs to continue till its goals are accomplished,” said the minister, adding that farmers were hereby assured that the production would increase and their hard work would come to fruition.
He also said that Spice Park that he visited on Saturday was a part of the mission and would benefit the farmers without compromising on quality.
While talking on the side lines of the visit he also assured farmers that an enquiry cell would be formed in order to verify whether substandard material was used or there were mere allegations.
The Spice Park would be equipped with hi-tech machinery for processing, drying, grading, and packing of saffron. Besides, the park would be equipped with quality control laboratory, e-auction centre, garbage and waste utilisation among other latest facilities for saffron growers.
The agriculture minister said the objective of establishing the park is to revive saffron cultivation on modern lines by providing farmers with latest technology to increase their income.
Highlighting the importance of the crop, the minister said saffron is the trademark of Kashmiri culture and heritage and collective efforts were needed to preserve it.
Hanjura said the successful beginning of implementation of saffron mission would definitely show enthusiasm in rejuvenation of saffron culture.
He directed the concerned departments to complete the digging work of 124 wells by 31 December this year.
Mir Zahoor Ahmad said that the project is nearing completion and is expected to overcome irrigation problems to saffron fields.
He said that 99 percent of people of his constituency are directly or indirectly related to saffron production and National Saffron Mission is a hope for them to regain its old glory.
Mir Zahoor also said the aim of introducing centrally funded saffron mission in the state was to have quality control and e-marketing facilities for saffron growers at their doorstep.
A large number of saffron growers also had an interaction with the ministers and put forth their demands and grievances. The ministers assured them that their genuine demands would be resolved on priority basis.


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