Black cumin, also known as Shahi or Kaala Jeera, is an integral part of Kashmiri cuisine and is used in a variety of dishes to enhance the taste. However, the cultivation of spice is only limited to a handful places in the Union Territory. Now, the Jammu and Kashmir Administration has established a research centre for the production of the same in Pampore, a place which is also known as the “saffron town of Kashmir”.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Bashir Ahmad Ellahi, the Head of Department of the Advanced Research Centre for Cumin Cultivation, explained that black cumin often enables farmers to attain better prices in the market in comparison to other products such as saffron.
“We are very grateful that the government has brought the seeds for us so that our farmers can also cultivate and produce it for the market. The research in the centre involves studying cultivation, harvest time, types of soil and manure, etc. We are also trying to increase the productivity and cultivation of the spice,” Ellahi was quoted as saying by the agency.
ANI also spoke to a farmer named Ghulam Nabi on this issue. “Kaala jeera (black cumin) is one of the best spices. In Jammu and Kashmir, it used to only be available in the jungles of Gurez Valley but thanks to the research centre, we also have access to it. Farmers have been getting seeds for cultivation and are learning how to grow it so that we can produce more for the market,” the agriculturist said.
Nabi also stated that this move will improve the income of landowners. He believed that greater cultivation of ‘kaala jeera’ will generate employment for youth and also asserted that the demand for this spice is quite high in the market.
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