Kashmir saffron industry heading for trouble
Growers Shifting To Fruit Cultivation
Pampore, Apr 16: The world famous Kashmir Saffron seems to be heading for a serious trouble as many growers are shifting to apple cultivation.
A number of farmers in this Kashmir’s saffron belt are nowadays converting their saffron fields into apple plantation. This is despite the fact that the government has started work on National Saffron Mission (NSM), a Rs 3.76 billion central package to boost saffron production in J&K.
The growers complained that their produce did not get them handsome returns. “We don’t get the adequate rates for our produce, which has forced us to shift towards fruit cultivation,” they said.
“Some years ago the saffron would sell at lucrative prices. But now the things have changed. The prices have come down sharply and we hardly manage to feed our families and send our children to school” a grower told Greater Kashmir.
According to growers the adulteration of saffron by some unscrupulous elements had ruined this industry. “Some selfish persons mix the manmade saffron with the original one to make fast bucks. This has brought a bad name to the entire industry. Even the tourists are now hesitating to buy our original Saffron saying that they have the experience of buying artificial saffron from Kashmiris on very high rates” said Muhammad Ashraf, a grower.
“We are now shifting to apple plantation to make the future of our children safe. We fear the saffron cultivation may worsen our financial positions,” Ashraf added.
“There was a time when there remained huge demand of tourists for the saffron. But now the situation is not same. It is hardly a few tourists now who come to us for purchasing saffron,” said a saffron and walnut seller.
Pertinently, government of India has launched the National Saffron Mission to give boost to saffron industry in J&K. “The project will completely change the present situation,” said Chief Agriculture Officer, Pulwama Ghulam Hassan Guru.
“As a first step we have started work on drilling the bore wells under the project,” he said, adding that “the government is distributing new nurseries them among the growers.”
Lastupdate on : Mon, 16 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 16 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 17 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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