Srinagar, Nov 14: The recently launched e-auction web portal by the Department of agriculture ensures that saffron growers get double of the market price for their produce.
"Through this Pan India web portal the farmers can getÂ double price of what they are getting at wholesale rate in the market," Altaf Andrabi, Director Agriculture said.
During the first auction, bidding had taken the price of â€˜lachaâ€™ variant of the saffron to Rs 227 per gram.
"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," he said.
To ensure quality saffron is being sold on the web portal the focus of this initiative is the post-harvest management.
" We are focussing on post-harvest management right now were in farmers after registration will come with their produceÂ to India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre(IIKSTC) of agriculture Department," Andrabi said.
After the growers will bring their produce, the IIKSTC will carry out stigma separation, drying and packaging themselves. A lot of farmers would undergo proper testing and the same information is uploaded on the web portal.
"We ensure that the three components crocin, pericrocin and saffronelle are well maintained which else gets damaged by sun drying," said Inam ul Rasool, In-charge e-auction centre.
This is a live portal where both growers and buyers have to register, after which they get their respective usernames.
" The criteria for buyers is that they should have GST number and pan card. While growers have to submit their Aadhar card, PAN card and bank details. A grower also has to submit his land holdings, area etc," Rasool added.
The auction dates are being decided by the Agriculture department and once that is decided the buyers get the information through SMS or email.
"After this buyers participate in the auction and make the bids. Once bidding price is decided the money splits into three different accounts. First, the farmer gets his or her money directly into the framer's account, then there is settlement account - where a buyer is charged for packaging and courier services and the third one is TCS account which is meant for GST deduction," Rasool said.
The farmer receives his money within two days of bidding. The payment gateway for the web portal is done through HDFC bank and shipping is carried by bluerocket.
Creation of this web portal has given new hope to the farmers who are feeling much elated.
"This will remove the intermediaries. Now with this step middleman trading will end. Growers can now directly contact buyers. The money would also go directly into the accounts of farmers," said Hilal Bhat, a grower.
This initiative has been taken to promote trading for farmers of Geographical Indications (GI)-tagged â€˜Kashmir Saffronâ€™.Â