Kashmir Saffron goes global with Geographical Indication Tag
For Kashmiri farmers, saffron crop sells for as much as Rs 250,000 (US$3,400) a kilogram. Most of the valley’s saffron is grown in Pampore.
The world’s most expensive spice, saffron, grown and cultivated in Kashmir received its first-ever geographical indication (GI) tag, a historic step for the conflict-riddled region as it has put the valley’s brand on the global map. Kashmir saffron stands apart in the world as it’s grown at an altitude of 1600 meters. It differentiates itself from other varieties of saffron due to its unique characteristics like longer and thicker stigma, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour and chemical-free processing. For Kashmiri farmers, saffron crop sells for as much as Rs 250,000 (US$3,400) a kilogram. Most of the valley’s saffron is grown in Pampore.
An official said the GI certification would stop the prevalent adulteration of Kashmir saffron, and the authenticated saffron will fetch much better prices. Now, with the GI tag, Kashmir saffron will get more prominence in the export market and will help the farmers get the best price. He said an area of 2,500 hectares was rejuvenated so far and a bumper production was expected during the current season, due to the initiatives taken by the National Mission on Saffron (NMS). Under the NMS, a project of Rs 411 crore was approved by the Union government, under which an area of 3,715 hectares for saffron was proposed to be rejuvenated.
Navin K Choudhary, Principal Secretary to Government, Agricultural Production Department said the GI certification establishes specific geographical origin and certifies certain unique qualities of the product. He said on the directions of the LG, sprinkler irrigation systems were being installed on a war footing in saffron fields which is likely to be completed in the next two weeks.
The Lt. Governor G.C Murmu expressed happiness on the GI certification. He had taken a personal interest in ensuring that the valley’s saffron gets GI certification. The LG said, restoring the pristine glory of Kashmir saffron is the top priority for both the government of UT of J&K as well as the government of India.
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