The first high-tech Spice Park is ready for the saffron growers of Jammu and Kashmir. The purpose of this park built in Pampore district is to increase the quality and quantity of saffron production and solve the grievances of the growers in the Valley. People doing saffron farming were earlier facing issues in drying, testing, packaging, and proper marketing of their produce. But after getting the Union Territory status recently, Kashmir's saffron got geographical indication (GI) which brought cheers on the faces of its growers.
The attraction of this high-tech spice park is a scientific laboratory and testing section where scientists will be testing saffron and monitoring other things to check the moisture of the product which is vital to maintain the quality. "Earlier farmers use to separate stigma, dry the plants, etc in their house which was totally unscientific and the quality was also not maintained.
Because of that, they never used to get the deserving price in the market. The objective of the government is to maintain the quality of the saffron. We are processing here the flowers of the saffron plant...growers can get the separation done here. We will give them the dry saffron," said Khurshid, Quality Manager Spice Park.
Talking about the packaging of the saffron, Mudasir Amin, an employee at the packaging section, said, "The testing of saffron will be done first and then it's sampling is done. We have three grades - 1, 2 & 3. Based on the grades, the packaging would be done. We have two types of packaging- manual and automatic. The packaging of saffron will be done according to weight and quality." "Kashmiri saffron is the best in the world. Though our competitor is Iran, but in terms of quality, our saffron is the best. The values of major components are present more in Indian Saffron. The pricing has also improved. Moreover, the pace of development has also enhanced after Jammu and Kashmir has got the status of Union Territory. Even in terms of funding, monitoring and implementation the region has been developed," said Altaf Ajaz Andrabi, Director Agriculture Department Kashmir.
Andrabi further informed ANI that this park has been built at a whopping cost of Rs 37 crores. "Right from flower picking to e-marketing, every facility is available in this park under one roof. So this is the biggest achievement of the farmers. The GI tag is also another feather in the cap," he added.
On a closer look, growers start the plucking process of the saffron plant in between September to October. At present, they can fulfill all their formalities including the registration process so that they sell their products hassle-free on an online platform this season and also give a boost to the economy.
Image Credit and News Source: (ANI)