Rs 373 crore to be spent till 2014 under National Saffron Mission
Saffron has been cultivated for thousands of years to be used in medicines, perfumes, dyes and as a wonderful flavoring agent for foods and beverages. Kashmir saffron is a high value, low volume crop and the quality of saffron is among the best in the world particularly because of its rich color and flavor.
- A small area in the valley, Pampore has the virtual monopoly of saffron cultivation in the country.
- Saffron (Crocus sativus Iridaceae), a low ornamental plant has grass-like leaves and large lily-shaped flowers. The flowers bear orange-red stigmas, which constitute the saffron of commerce. The saffron flowers in autumn and is dormant during the summer months.
- Saffron plant is a native of south Europe and is cultivated in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Persia, India and China.
- Spain and Iran are the largest producers accounting for more than 80% of the world’s production.
- In recent years, yield has enormously increased and Iran now produces more saffron than Spain and has become the world’s number one producer and accounts for 95% of world’s production.
- France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Taiwan and Kuwait are the major importers of Iranian saffron.
India’s Saffron Production & Trade:
- India imports considerable quantities of saffron principally from Spain and France. India exports a small quantity of saffron to Arabia, Bahrain Islands, Burma, Hong Kong and other neighboring countries. Exports of saffron declined sharply from 1942-43 onwards and completely ceased from 1944-45, but it gained the pace during the year 1990 and onwards.
National Saffron Mission
- In August 2010, the Union Government has approved a plan of Rs 373 crore under National Saffron Mission Programme (NSMP) to revive the saffron production in Jammu and Kashmir. Rs 373 crore will be spent under the National Saffron Mission till 2014 while Rs 9.50 crore has been distributed among farmers for replantation of corms.
- This mission commenced from 2010.
What are the Objectives?
- To extend support for creation of irrigation facilities through tube wells and sprinkler sets which would help in production of better crop in the area.
- Improve the overall production of saffron, enhancing its quality, enhancement of Research and Extension capability and develop appropriate system for organised marketing for the growers.
Quality Control Lab:
- A quality Control lab would be established at Pampore by National Spot Exchange with a financial outlay of Rs 8.90 crore.