Introduced in 2010, Govt fails to implement NSM

BK Correspondent/Srinagar
February 6, 2017 STATE 247 Views

Introduced in the year 2010, the state government has failed to implement National Saffron Mission (NSM) due to which the production of this valuable crop has declined.
National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says that saffron cultivation in Kashmir has dropped to 5,707 hectares in 1996 to just 3,875 hectares in 2010-11, bringing down the production from 3.13 kg per hectare to 2.47 kg per hectares in the last few years.
The National Saffron Mission scheme was launched by the Centre in partnership with the State with the aim of raising production from 3 kilogram to 5 kilogram per hectare. As various important components of the scheme remain unimplemented, construction of bore wells which the government has announced nearly six year ago too has remained on papers only.
So far the State Government has drilled only 90 bore wells with majority of them lying defunct. “Out of 109 bore wells announced earlier, only 90 were dug which too are defunct,” said an insider at Department of Agriculture on conditions of anonymity.
The Saffron growers blame that the poor implementation of this scheme as main reason for the declining of saffron production in the valley. “I used to harvest five kilograms of saffron every year but this time I will not get even one kilogram of saffron,” said a saffron grower who owns a saffron land of 30 kanals in Lethpora Pampore.
“The scientific method has destroyed our crop instead of increasing the production. We were using traditional methods and getting good results,” Ahmed added.
The Saffron Growers Association too blamed the authorities for not conducting awareness programmes in the region with respect to the saffron cultivation.
The Agriculture Department Kashmir blamed the saffron growers for not co-operating with the department.
“The growers have not cooperated with the department which makes impossible to make all the bore wells functional and hence the land had to rely on other forms of irrigation,” An official from Department of Agriculture said.

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