PAMPORE: Encouraged by good returns on Geographical Indication Tag tagged saffron a good number of Saffron growers are turning at In- dia International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC) Dusoo Pampore for post harvest man- agement. Officials informed Kashmir Reader that this year they re- corded 50 per cent increase in stigma separation and 30 percent increase in growers as compared to previous year. They also said that this year there has been increase in number of buyers and many companies like TATA and LULU group too have joined the auction. “There is an increase of about 30 percent in growers turning up this year as compared to that of last year at the center ,”Dr Inam Ul Rasool Incharge IIK- STC told Kashmir Reader, adding that there has been 50 per cent increase in stigma collection at the center. He said that growers are getting aware about the GI tag that is ensuring better returns to their produce. He said farmers reaped double returns on their produce through IIKSTC Pamp- ore which also encouraged other grow- ers to come to this center for processing the stigma and getting GI tag. “All buyers in the market are asking for GI tagged Kashmiri Saffron,” he said, adding that GI tag ensures high rates due to which more and more farmers are approaching the He told Kashmir Reader that they pro- vide two services at IIKSTC Pampore, one stigma separation and other drying of stigma. “The farmers are getting good market value of their saffron produce after get- ting processed at IIKSTC as compared to traditional methods,” he said. “We have a drying capacity of 40 kg per 30 minutes, with the result we maintain it’s quality,” he said, adding that post management harvest at IIKSTC Pampo- re ensures double prices to farmers. He told Kashmir Reader that they help farmers in marketing through e-auction portal. Earlier there were only few buyers but now many like Tata group and Lulu group who are demanding for GI Saffron.