Kashmir farmers hail holding of saffron fair

November 14th, 2007 - 10:28 am ICT by admin  

The day-long saffron fair, held at Pampore which is 12 kilometres south of Srinagar, was organised by the Department of Tourism. The fair assumes significance as Kashmir is one of the very few places in the world that produces quality saffron which is much superior to the Iranian one.

“The saffron fair will benefit us (saffron farmers). One of the positive offshoots is the increased tourist inflow. This way the saffron rates will increase in the Valley,” said Ghulam Mohammad, President, Saffron Growers Association, Jammu and Kashmir.

One of the main objectives of this fair was to showcase the vast saffron fields to woo tourists. These fields are in full bloom these days along the national highway in the saffron town of Pampore.

According to tourism officials, the one-day fair, which was organised for the first time in the history of Kashmir, will become a regular feature from next year in order to attract more tourists to the Valley.

“It is the initiative of the tourism department to celebrate the day long saffron fair. From next year, we have decided to organise a week-long festival. This way we will be able to advertise in advance and the people from all over India and world can participate in this festival,” said Sarmand Hafeez, Joint Director Tourism, Kashmir.

Hafeez added that saffron grown in Kashmir is known the world over and is rated as the best saffron in the world. In 2006, the price of quality saffron was fixed by the government at rupees 1000 for 10 grams.

Saffron growers in the Kashmir Valley are a happy lot as this year’s yield has been better than last year’s, and they will be able to earn more, as saffron cultivation is undertaken only in this state of the country.

Saffron is one of the world’s most expensive herbal produce. Its delicate flowers are harvested only in October-November.

The flowers begin to grow after the first rains and start blooming usually mid-October when the temperature is just right.

Kashmir’s cool climate and rich soil with excellent drainage and organic content make the location an ideal thriving ground for this spice.

Saffron derives its name from the Arabic word Zafran meaning, “be yellow”.

What makes it so rare is that saffron filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower, having botanical name in Latin Crocus Sativus Linneaus.

Each flower contains only three stigmas and it takes around 80,000 flowers to get one pound of saffron. (ANI)

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