Pampore Aug 9: Abdul Majeed Wani, a Saffron grower from Pampore area of Pulwama district has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for farmers’ welfare initiatives and schemes like PM PM-KISAN for helping to increase farmers’ income.
Wani like other farmers from several States/UTs today interacted, via video-conferencing, with PM Modi during the release of 9th installment of financial benefit under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.
The Prime Minister virtually transferred about Rs 19,500 crore to over 9.75 crore farmers under the Central government's PM-KISAN scheme.
Under the scheme, an annual direct cash transfer of Rs 6,000 is provided to farmers, which is directly deposited into their registered bank accounts. The amount is paid in three equal four-monthly installments of Rs 2,000 each.
In his speech, PM said that the government has now decided that saffron of Kashmir will be available at ‘NAFED’ shops across the country and said that the initiative will give a lot of impetus to the cultivation of saffron in Jammu and Kashmir.
Post an interaction with PM, Wani said PM’s dream of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 has been realized in Kashmir first where Saffron farmers from Pampore are reaping the benefits of government’s farmer welfare schemes.
“Earlier, a Saffron grower used to fetch Rs 90 thousand to Rs 1.10 lakh per Kilogram, now the price for the same quantity has gone up to Rs 2.25 lakh, thus doubling farmers income which is the dream of our honorable PM sahib and here in Kashmir the target of doubling farmers’ income has been achieved a year before the target of year 2022,” Wani added.
Wani, who is growing Saffron for the past 30 years on his land measuring 40 Kanals, said that Saffron cultivation was dwindling due to little marketing and authentication issues.
Calling the government’s initiatives like Geographical Indication (GI) tagging and Spice Park at Pampore a game-changer for the Saffron grower of the area, he said the India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Center (IIKSTC) provided an e-auction for the Saffron growers and fetching them double the prices for their crop.
He believed that by establishing the Spice Park, e-auction was done to market Kashmiri Saffron while as GI Tagging provided an authentication certificate to the crop at national and international market where customers buy genuine Saffron instead of fake brands sold in the name of Kashmiri Saffron.
Wani said that the Saffron cultivation faced a hitch but due to the government’s timely intervention through National Saffron Mission (NSM), its revival is back on course. “NSM helped us in two ways: one is that it provided us latest technologies of farming, besides it provided incentives for Saffron cultivation due to which the spice was revived in this area,” Wani added.
He also expressed his gratitude to the PM for announcing the availability of Kashmiri Saffron at ‘NAFED’ shops across the country, saying such initiatives will further provide boost to the world’s precious spice with respect to its marketing.
The interaction for Saffron growers was held at IIKSTC Dussu Pampore wherein Principal Secretary Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Navin Kumar Choudhary; Managing Director National Horticulture Board, Rajbir Singh; Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Baseer-ul-Haq Choudhary; Director Agriculture Kashmir, Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal; MD JKHPMC, Shafat Sultan, HoDs of allied departments and other concerned were also present.