The most militarised territory in the world is Kashmir, a Muslim-dominated region in the north of the Indian subcontinent. When the Indian subcontinent got independence and was divided into two countries in August 1947, Kashmir became the focus of a war between the two countries. The Indian military forces have totally occupied Kashmir since 1990 in order to put a stop to pro-independence uprisings and trends towards armed militancy.
The stories stir disagreement, but there is one point of agreement: the original saffron from Kashmir is the sweetest and most expensive spice in the world. Compared to its Iranian equivalent, which makes up more than 90% of the world’s saffron production, its strands are thicker and more aromatic. In what was once a bustling market, Kashmiri farmers now sell their crops for up to 250,000 INR, or $3,400 USD, or $1,550 per pound. South of Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, near Pampore is where the best quality of Saffron in India is farmed.
With government approval, agricultural land may be sold or repurposed
The notification states that while it is generally prohibited to utilise agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, it is possible with prior approval from the government, specifically the district collector. According to the steps outlined in the Jammu and Kashmir Saffron Act of 2007, approval is granted for the conversion of land designated as the “Saffron Belt.”
The notification further specifies that no more than 400 square metres of agricultural land may be used for residential construction or grain storage.
Any other use of the land must get the district collector’s consent if it is being used to grow fuel or feed.
Kashmir is the best land for saffron
The first step in growing the crop is ploughing the soil twice in April to let moisture flow through. Saffron corms, which sell for 50,000 rupees a kanal, or 1/8 of an acre, are sown in August or September after the soil has been broken up and given time to breathe. After this, there isn’t much that can be done besides wait and conduct some basic tending. The plants start to grow naturally from the soil in the middle of October, and for a month they are harvested, dried, and sorted.
Even though saffron has a strong emotional presence in Kashmir and the rest of the Indian subcontinent, its ecological problems—drought and inadequate irrigation—are the majority of its problems. Farmers used to be able to depend on the winter snow penetrating into the soil during the spring and summer, keeping it moist despite the region’s intense sun. But due to the valley’s changing climate, there has been less snowfall and rainfall, which has made the soil dry and unsuitable for growing crops.
Umer Sami, an aspiring Pampore businessman who wants to increase the demand for Kashmiri online and wants people to buy best saffron online, claims that agriculture needs young people and drive and that nobody wants to walk outside.
Saffron demands initiative and substantial state assistance. The first two objectives are attainable with work, but a free, tranquil environment conducive to success appears unattainable.