PAMPORE, J&K: The farmers in saffron fields in Lethpora, Chandhara, Dusoo and adjoining parts of the Pampore region in southern Kashmir were seen picking saffron spice amid favourable weather conditions.

In Dusoo on Sunday, men, women and children took part in the saffron picking process.

Saffron is considered a legendary crop, known globally for being a very expensive spice. But farmers in Pampore this year again expressed concern over the lack of proper irrigation facilities for saffron fields.

Irrigation works under the ‘National Saffron Mission’ are yet to be completed. Sprinklers were built in some portions, but are not functioning.

The government must ensure that borewells are built in and around saffron fields, they said, as the rain usually falls out of season.

One grower said that while the saffron mission has given benefits to farmers, mostly in the form of incentives, he hopes to see completion of the sprinkle irrigation system, which is not functioning.

It’s a bumper crop this year. The late rains across the Kashmir Valley have helped saffron farmers with the best produce after a long time. Around 3,700 hectares of land are being used to cultivate the crop, mainly in Pampore.

Saffron, derived from the crocus flower, is one of the most popular spices used for colouring. It is widely used also in the preparation of kehwa, the popular Kashmiri saffron tea. Saffron extracts have various uses too, like adding fragrance to perfumes, dyeing clothes, etc.