To increase the production of Saffron, the Jammu and Kashmir government will be spending Rs 273 crore over the next three years, state agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir said.
"Rs 273 crore will be spent for the development of Saffron areas during the next three years," Mir said while addressing a seminar organised by SK University ofAgricultural Sciences and Technology, and sponsored by National Horticulture Board Gurgaon, Haryana.
He said the government was also considering replacing the seed corms of saffron in order to improve the product quality and increase the yield.
Replanting seed corms over 3,700 hectares of saffron fields will be the first phase of the Saffron project for which government will bear 75 per cent of the cost and growers will pay the remaining 25 per cent, Mir said.
The Minister said that to facilitate the efficient marketing to each individual grower, the government will establish a spice park at Pampore where most of the saffron fields are located, at an estimated cost of Rs 16 crore.
He said the sprinkle sets and other machinery would be provided to the saffron growers on 50 per cent subsidy.
Saffron industry is facing grave threat with construction taking place at an alarming rate in Pampore region, which produces nearly 90 per cent of the total saffron in the valley.
As the profits from the saffron crop have dwindled due to decrease in production, the growers have ventured into other professions, selling off their fields or constructing houses or factories in the region.
In the last 20 years, Saffron fields in the region have been reduced to a mere 3,700 hectares from the earlier 7,000 hectares.