Scientific methodologies prove game changer in Saffron cultivation in J&K
JAMMU: The India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC), Dusso, Pampore has proved instrumental in facilitating saffron growers with organized marketing, quality based pricing besides direct transaction between growers, traders, exporters and industrial agencies ensuring substantial profits to the beneficiaries.
In IIKSTC, scientific post-harvest handling practices like Drying, Grading, Stamen Separation etc are being adopted for fetching better returns to farmers.
“Saffron produced at farmer fields in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is of best quality which proffers strong flavour, aroma and colour effect as well in comparison to Saffron produced across the world”.
The governments, in an effort to maintain the identity of Kashmir Saffron and eliminate the role of intermediaries from the marketing channel for better pricing for growers in the domestic and international market which will eventually help growers realize maximum prices, established IIKSTC.
IIKSTC is tremendously helping the saffron growers to enforce adoption of quality standards and fix the price based on quality grades at farm gate level.
The government worked hard to motivating orthodox mindset of farmers towards adopting scientific methodology for promoting saffron cultivation as bold initiatives like prophylactic measures and soil health reclamation measure are being taken which are proving a game changer in Saffron cultivation in J&K.
More than 30000 families in J&K located in 226 villages are associated with saffron cultivation. Jammu & Kashmir is the second largest Saffron producing area in the world and is only place in the country where saffron is being cultivated.
Collection center unit set up as part of IIKSTC with a cost of Rs 37 crore is meant for collection of produce from farmers, proper weighing, issuing code numbers, tagging and maintenance of record.
Proper marking of crates is ensured so that there is no mixing of produce and ownership disputes are avoided, a saffron farmer, Ali Muhammad Mir of Dusoo Pampore said. “Then our produce is sent to stigma separation unit and in case of excess produce, it is kept in cold storage after proper coding. We are facilitated at every step by the departmental officials to locate our produce, he added”.
In the quality evaluation laboratory unit, officials receive coded samples from drying unit for quality evaluation and testing for conducting physical and chemical tests of saffron samples received, using IS methods.
The laboratory is equipped with all the facilities and machines to provide accurate and globally acceptable test results.
“The technicians allot grades as per ISO standards for each parameter besides maintaining liaison with e-auction unit by providing test certification so that the farmer can sell his produce as per the grade certified,” an official of IIKSTC said.
During the selling process, the auction center of the IIKSTC facilitates the growers to revise the “Base Price” and “Valuation Price” based on the demand and supply and other parameters till 24 hours before the auction day.