Says such meetings aimed at increasing production, seek better marketing chain for saffron
Pampore: Director Agriculture Kashmir Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal on Tuesday visited saffron fields in the Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama where he held meetings with saffron growers from different areas. During the meeting, various things concerning Saffron crops, irrigation and other issues were discussed.
Dr Bashir Allie, head of Advanced Research Station for Saffron and Seed Spices Dusroon, scientists and other agriculture and SKUAST-K officials accompanied the Director Agriculture.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Farooq Ahmad Dar, a progressive farmer, said, “We are highly thankful to the Commissioner Secretary and Director Agriculture for imposing a ban on saffron corms from the valley. Today, the Director Sahab along with Saffron growers identified the availability of land where saffron corms can be sown.”
He added that they demanded that 100 kanal of land in Sonkrend area of Pampore be earmarked for developing saffron nurseries. “We also demanded that no one should be allowed to sell Iranian Saffron in the name of Kashmiri Saffron and there should be a clear demarcation between the two,” he said, adding that the Director Agriculture agreed to their suggestions.
The Director Agriculture told Kashmir Reader that Pampore produces the best saffron in the world. “We had routine meetings with saffron growers to get their feedback on various issues concerning the heritage crop. They get good feedback from young as well-aged farmers,” he said.
He said the aim of these meetings was to increase production and seek a better marketing chain for the heritage crop.
The Director said that it was the first time that they chalked out a modus operandi for stopping the drainage of saffron corms which was causing a deficiency of corms. “The export was banned and illegal consignments were seized,” he said.
He said that he appreciates the honest feedback from Saffron growers that Iranian saffron should be segregated and sold as Iranian saffron and not as Kashmiri saffron.
We are not against marketing any saffron but will not allow adulteration or mislabelling, he said, adding that under the National Saffron Mission, 121 bore wells were to be constructed.
“73 bore wells have been handed over by the mechanical engineering department, ” he said, adding that they are in working condition.
The remaining bore wells need some equipment to make them function and we have taken up the matter with the Government of India, he said.
The Director Agriculture Kashmir said that they will operationalise functional bore wells in the coming days to provide irrigational water to saffron land in case it doesn’t rain.