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Centre launches National Saffron Mission in Jammu and Kashmir

By Abdul Nisar

Srinagar, Nov.21 (ANI): The Central Government on Sunday launched the National Saffron Mission (NSM) to boost saffron production in Jammu and Kashmir.

The rupees 3.76 billion programme was launched to boost the growth of saffron, which received setbacks due to lack of irrigation facilities, and sale of inferior quality of Iranian saffron.

As part of the programme, the state authorities plan to construct bore-wells to improve the irrigation facilities.

"Under this project, we have arranged bore-wells in the saffron growing belts. And we are digging bore-wells and when the bore-wells would be dug, water will be available in the fields and then the quality of flowers would improve," said Gulam Hassan Mir, Agriculture Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

The poor irrigation facilities resulted in a drop of production from yields of four kilograms per hectare to two kilograms.

The programme was launched after the Prime Minister's Office took initiatives to boost the economy of Jammu and Kashmir.

"We will receive benefits. We really require this Mission and if it is implemented, the growers will be benefited," said Raja Mushtaq, a saffron grower.

Saffron is sold for rupees 270,000 per kilogram in the domestic market, and offers livelihood to saffron farmers in five districts across the State. By Afzal Bhat (ANI)

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