The Union Government has issued a certificate of Geographical Indication (GI) registration for Saffron grown in the Kashmir Valley.
What is it? The GI certification establishes specific geographical origin and certifies certain unique qualities of the product and enables those who have the right to use sign in order to prevent third parties using the sign.
Significance of the decision for Kashmir Saffron?
With the GI tag, Kashmir Saffron will acquire more prominence in the export market and would help the farmers get a better remunerative price.
It would also stop the prevalent adulteration of Kashmir Saffron and thereby authenticated Saffron will fetch much better prices.
Do you know?
Kashmir saffron, grown at an altitude of 1,600 metres, saw a steep decline in production by around 65%, from 16 tonnes to 5.6 tonnes in 2018.
Land under saffron cultivation has also come down to 3,715 hectares in 2009-10 from 5,707 hectares in 1996.
Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE.
It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
It is a very precious and costly product.
In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘bahukam’.
It is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir.
Uniqueness: The features which differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over are:
It is the only saffron that is grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m above mean sea level.
It has longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing.
It also has a high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).
Types: There are three types of saffron available in Kashmir — Lachha Saffron, Mongra Saffron and Guchhi Saffron.
Kashmir saffron is used globally as a spice. It also helps in revitalizing health. It is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
Benefit of tag: With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron would gain more prominence in the export market. Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.
Whats’ so special about Kashmir Saffron?
The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).
It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level), which adds to its uniqueness and differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over.