Pampore (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], November 12 (ANI): As part of the mission to restore the pristine glory of Kashmiri Saffron and provide a registered platform for Saffron growers in the Valley, the PAN-India e-auction portal was inaugurated on Thursday.
The portal is an initiative of the Department of Agriculture under the aegis of India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC), to promote trading for farmers of Geographical Indications (GI)-tagged 'Kashmir Saffron'. Altaf Ajaz Andrabi, Director of Agriculture, Kashmir in Dussu of the Pampore district inaugurated the portal.
Saffron growers in the Valley will now be able to get optimum returns of their yield, ultimately leading to the boost of the economy in the area without the interference of intermediaries.
Speaking to ANI, Andrabi said that bidding had taken the price of 'lacha' variant of the saffron to Rs 227 per gram, and small farmers had greatly benefitted from the new initiative.
"This day will be remembered in golden letters. We started the bidding process for 50 grams at the rate of Rs 200 per gram for lacha and Rs 185 per gram for Mogra. After the process, we closed at Rs 227 per gram for the former. This was the first day we are hopeful that there will be a surge in the saffron price which normally struggles in the open market," he said.
Saffron farmers who participated in the bidding process expressed elation and gratitude for the new platform.
"I am very grateful to the agriculture department for providing this platform for poor farmers. The market rate for our products was very low but when we came here to attend the auction, we got a much better deal - about Rs 185 per gram. For one kilogram, we can get upto Rs 1.85 lakh. We are extremely grateful to the Agricultural Department for this extraordinary step," said Farooq Wani, a saffron grower who participated in the auction.
Buyers too expressed appreciation for the new e-platform, saying that they were glad that they were saved of the hassle of middle-men and could now acquire high-quality spices directly from the sellers.
"Saffron trading used to have so many problems with middlemen and bothersome interferences. This is a very good facility for sellers and buyers as we can interact directly. I extend my congratulations to the Director of agriculture for this initiative," said Ansar Ali, a buyer from Kerala. (ANI)