A large number of people in Kashmir Valley are now earning employment in a better way by engaging in various age-old industries, which are helping to create a chain of employment for the youth.
In the past decades, many industries started to decline due to one or the other reason, but the present government has started paying renewed attention to the various industries in Jammu and Kashmir and for this, many emergency measures were introduced through several new schemes.
As a result of this, people have started reconnecting with various industries. Also, people who had distanced themselves from them are also coming back and taking full advantage of the government schemes.
Panpur in Pulwama district is also known as the ‘Saffron Town’ for centuries. Kashmiri saffron is famous around the world for its unique identity. The area from Panpur on the Srinagar-Jammu highway to Barsa is also known as the ‘red gold’ area.
This industry suffered a lot due to the actions of previous governments, as a result this land yielding ‘gold’ was turning into a barren land.
In the last few years, especially after 2019, the government has paid more attention to this industry along with other industries in Jammu and Kashmir. It took many important steps due to which the farmers are once again getting attracted to the cultivation of saffron here.
After many years, an increase in production has been seen this year. The government is promoting the area as saffron tourism, where a big event has also been organised recently.
Successful initiative of Sher Kashmir Agricultural University
Saffron used to be damaged due to different weather conditions, reducing the farmers’ earnings which was also one of the reasons for shunning the industry.
However, due to the initiative of Sher Kashmir Agricultural University (SCAST), Kashmir has now successfully experimented with growing saffron indoor, due to which the industry is expanding and benefiting the farmers in a better way.
This year, nine farmers have grown saffron indoor under this unique initiative. Among them is Abdul Majeed Wani from the Khamanwa area in Panpur, who is also the president of the Kashmir Saffron Association.
Wani said he was told about this new technology by the Sher Kashmir Agricultural University three years ago.
He said the saffron grew within three months after which it was kept in a closed dark room.
Wani said that since he grew the saffron indoor, there was no risk of adverse weather conditions.
“We are trying to make the industry sustainable. Farmers now want to use standardised seeds, which can bring more benefits. With the help of the new technology, the industry will reach the homes of people who do not own land,” he said.
Bashir Ahmed Elahi from the Saffron Research Centre said that now this new technology is being communicated to more and more farmers so that the industry gets a boost.
Elahi said that anyone who wants to grow saffron in this way can contact the Saffron Research Centre.