Srinagar: The government of India has introduced new schemes and techniques for promoting saffron farming in the Kashmir valley. By using GI Tagging and new processing techniques, the quality of Kashmir’s Saffron has been raised to be among the best in the world.
A new saffron park has been established with the sole objective of processing and marketing saffron from Kashmir Valley. ‘We test the samples that we get here. There are 8 parameters we test these samples on, which are internationally recognized. Our lab is recognised across the world. The 8 parameters include moisture, extraneous matter and foreign matter, and total ash and three main characteristics. We grade them and then we do e-auction. The farmers get the flowers and then we do the stigma separation and then we do the vacuum drying. Traditionally the farmers used to dry the saffron under shade at home but due to that, the saffron used to lose the main components. We save all the parameters which help us to get the best grade. Our saffron is better than spain and Iranian saffron.’ Dr. Majid Ali, Deputy Technical Manager, said.
This laboratory processes the saffron flowers with the latest technology, preserving the best quality. Through quality assurance and GI Tagging, the Government is able to sell its products on all national and international platforms. ‘Anytime a laboratory or institution checks the quality of a product, they have to do a survey before the establishment. There are many procedures which ensure the quality and quantity of the product, so many schemes and sop’s. If we want to get these products recognised on international platforms, we have to follow these sops. It’s not a cumbersome process but it’s a process that ensures the quality, quantity, and income of the farmers. SOP is made for the people to benefit the people so in that way there are many processes and camps where we are aware of the farmers.’ said DC Pulwama, Baseer Ul Chaudhary.
The farmers and retailers of Kashmir valley are extremely happy with this step. It will benefit the farmers directly and they will be able to sell the product despite lockdowns. ‘It’s very good for us. The farmers were not satisfied with the money they would get for their produce. If there is a good price for it, it will help. Due to the covid, there were problems and now if we can sell it online, it would be a lot beneficial and we have been personally selling it online and if the government also does the same, it will help.’ said Wahid Bhat, Farmer, and Retailer.
Whenever tourists visit Kashmir valley, they always buy saffron. With this initiative, they can now buy the best quality saffron online. This will be a great help, they say. ‘Since childhood, we have heard about it and we get it every year. It’s very good quality. if it’s as good quality as we get from Kashmir, then it’s very helpful. Then you don’t need to wait for long to get the best quality. its good for the farmers also as due to covid tourism had come to halt, the farmers will not have to suffer for it. The product will not have to suffer.’ said Nidhi Aggarwal, Tourist.
The government of India’s new initiatives will benefit the farmers as well as the retailers in Kashmir valley.