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Saffron Crop Decline Puts Officials Under Pressure During Jashn-e-Zaffran

Saffron farmers express frustration and demand action from officials during the Jashn-e-Zaffran festival, highlighting issues such as declining yields and the need for a drip irrigation system in Pampore, India.

Shivangi Rai
The festival was held at India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC), Dussu, Pampore to promote agro-tourism and agro-industry. (Image Courtesy-Freepik)
The festival was held at India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC), Dussu, Pampore to promote agro-tourism and agro-industry. (Image Courtesy-Freepik)

During the Jashn-e-Zaffran festival at the India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC) in Dussu, Pampore, senior officials faced the frustration of saffron farmers.

The festival aimed to promote agro-tourism and agro-industry. As officials began their speeches, some farmers stood up and voiced their concerns about the government's apparent indifference to saffron cultivation.

Farmers pointed out a significant decline in saffron yields and accused the government of inaction. They expressed worry over saffron corms being attacked by rodents. One farmer pleaded for just two minutes to discuss various issues affecting saffron growers. The absence of a drip irrigation system was noted as a significant problem, especially during prolonged dry spells.

Notably, in 2010, the government had introduced a drip irrigation system as part of the Rs 412-crore National Saffron Mission to combat dry spells. A video capturing irate farmers reprimanding the officials circulated online after the festival.

Choudhary Muhammad Iqbal, Director of Agriculture, mentioned that the festival proceeded peacefully, with farmers raising their concerns. He assured that the issue of drip irrigation would be addressed with the relevant department. However, Choudhary acknowledged that many pipes had been damaged, leading the department to file an FIR for further investigation.

Besides the Director of Agriculture, other senior officials, including the Secretary of the Agriculture Production Department, Shabnum Kamili, were also present during the festival.

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