In order to increase the production of black cumin, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has set up a research centre for its cultivation in Pampore district.
Black cumin, also known as Shahi or Kaala Jeera, is an essential ingredient in Kashmiri cuisine as it is used to enhance taste of various dishes. Earlier, the spice was only cultivated in a handful of places across the Valley.
Ghulam Nabi, a farmer, said that the spice used to only be available in Gurez Valley but has now been made available for cultivation in Pampore by the research centre.
“Kaala jeera 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,” Nabi said.
“This will increase the income of landowners and generate employment for the youth. Its demand is high and it is also good for health,” he added.
Dr Bashir Ahmad Ellahi, Head of Department of the Advanced Research Centre for Cumin Cultivation said that many farmers have found success in the cultivation of black cumin and it has often helped them to earn better in the markets as compared to other popular spices like 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 said. (ANI)