‘Platform to share knowledge, foster collaboration between industry professionals and local farmers’
Pampore: The Spices Board of India organized a ‘Saffron Day Celebration’ at the India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC) in Dusoo, located in the Pampore area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
In an effort to promote saffron cultivation and enhance the quality of saffron produce, the Spices Board of India hosted a grand ‘Saffron Day Celebration’ at IIKSTC Dusoo in Pampore. The event featured B.N. Jha, Director Marketing at Spices Board of India, as the chief guest.
This initiative was organized by the Spices Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Consumers and Industry, Government of India, and the Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare Department of Kashmir.
The program brought together various dignitaries, including G.M. Dhobi, Joint Director of the Agriculture Production Department; Dr. F.A. Nehvi, Consultant to the Spice of India and Head of Research Station Dusoo Pampore; Prof. Bashir Ahmad Alaie; Ashutosh Gautam, Coordinator of Spice Board Regional Office Srinagar; Shams Hassan Mir, an agriculture official; Abdul Majeed Wani, the head of the Saffron Growers Association; and progressive farmers.
The ‘Saffron Day Celebration’ served as a platform for sharing knowledge and fostering collaboration between industry professionals and local farmers. Through such initiatives, the Spices Board of India continues its efforts to empower farmers, promote sustainable agricultural practices, and elevate the saffron industry in the beautiful valleys of Kashmir.
The Spices Board also organized a buyer-seller meeting on temperate spices in Lalmandi, Srinagar. The event, led by Director Marketing B.N. Jha, focused on exploring trade opportunities for saffron, hill garlic, Kashmiri lal mirch, and Kala Zeera.
In an interview with Kashmir Reader at IIKSTC Dusoo, Director of Marketing at the Spice Board of India, B.N. Jha, highlighted their recent activities. He mentioned that they organized a buyer-seller meeting in Kashmir, followed by the celebration of Saffron Day, a tradition observed during the saffron harvesting season. He further noted that this event took place at IIKSTC Dusoo.
Jha explained that the meeting involved stakeholders, Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs) engaged in spice production, and officers from the Agriculture department and SKUAST-Kashmir. The discussions revolved around this year’s good production and productivity of saffron, along with exploring ways to enhance exports and promote Kashmiri saffron not only in India but globally.
The Director of the Spice Board emphasized the importance of branding, promotion, and active participation. The Spice Board of India serves as the export body for spices and encourages exporters to participate actively in exhibitions to effectively promote their products. He stressed that such opportunities are available for them to benefit from and underscored the need for infrastructure, processing units, quality testing, and other facilities to support marketing activities.
In regards to saffron corms distribution to farmers, efforts were discussed during the meeting to ensure efficient supply and improve production. Jha mentioned that they had addressed issues related to this concern and planned to take steps to resolve them moving forward.
In an interview with Kashmir Reader, Ashutosh Gautam, Coordinator of Spice Board Regional Office Srinagar, explained that the Saffron Day celebration was part of their initiative. It aimed to directly interact with farmers and promote saffron with a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, ultimately benefiting the farmers associated with saffron production.
Joint Director of Agriculture Production G.M. Dhobi told Kashmir Reader that farmers, particularly those in Pampore and other villages connected with the saffron industry, are currently busy with saffron flower picking. The Spices Board of India organized the program to address marketing issues related to saffron farming. The farmers discussed marketing challenges and potential solutions, and they were informed about the assistance the Spice Board provides and the specific benefit programs available for farmers, especially Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs). The Director of the Spice Board assured the farmers of support and introduced them to various marketing programs and opportunities.
This year, a bumper crop of saffron is expected, with production surpassing that of the past 2-4 years. Farmers are anticipating a very good yield, and it is clear that the saffron crop is thriving. However, marketing issues were prevalent, and steps were taken to address these challenges and provide support to Kashmiri saffron growers.