PAMPORE — The Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir on Tuesday organized a saffron festival in Karewas of Pampore.
The festival was organized in collaboration with the Agriculture Department, SKUAST Kashmir, Cooperative Societies, and local saffron growers.
Speaking on the occasion as chief guest, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Pandurang K Pole said Kashmiri saffron is popular all over the world and it is needed to work together to maintain its reputation. He said the government has introduced several measures to boost saffron production through technological interventions, technological support, and irrigation facilities.
The Divisional Commissioner said that farmers need to take benefit of the technological interventions and make use of the better irrigation facilities and GI certification for better returns. He also exhorted the farmers that they should not use the Karewa land for any other purpose as this land produces the world’s best saffron.
He said that the tourists have added to the economy of the locals as the tourists are experiencing the landscape of the saffron fields. He further said that GI tagging has opened new windows for Kashmir saffron and the government is endeavoring to ensure that all the globally accepted quality parameters are met during the cultivation and post-harvest management of the saffron.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama Baseer-ul-Haq Chaudhary, while speaking on the occasion, said that the government is committed to bringing the saffron Karewas on the tourism map of Kashmir and said that wetlands and saffron are an interconnected economy to the local populace of Pampore.
Mr Baseer appreciated the Tourism Department for organizing the festival, thereby creating an interface between tourists and the local saffron growers. He thanked all the stakeholders for their support and cooperation and said that more such festivals will be organized on a larger scale. He said that the participation of locals is a sign of better things to come.
Director Tourism Kashmir, Fazl-ul-Haseeb also spoke on the occasion and said that more festivals will be organized to involve more and more locals in the promotion of saffron, so that the concerned growers’ economic interests are secured at all levels. He said the aim of holding a festival at Pampore was to celebrate the uniqueness of the place and the pride saffron cultivation has brought to Kashmir.
Director, Agriculture Kashmir, Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal, saffron growers, representatives of various travel and trade bodies, and other stakeholders were present on the occasion.
Earlier, the festival witnessed many cultural events and activities, folk dances, and music performances. A skit by a young artist on Nasha Mukta Abhiyan won accolades from the audience.