Kashmir Valley which is known for its beauty also referred to as paradise on earth is known for its high-quality saffron too. The home-grown spice got a boost after receiving GI i.e. Geographical Indication certification from the central government. It is expected that this achievement will increase the prices of Saffron in the international market.
What is the Geographical Indication?
It is the mark or a name given to certain products which are natural, agricultural, or manufactured products like handicrafts, sweets, or industrial goods of a particular region like country or state or a town. This tag is received by those particular products that are unique in features and are amazing in quality. No one possesses permission to use this name other than the region to which this tag is given.
People must have heard about Agra’s Petha, Black rice of Manipur, Mathura’s Peda, Darjeeling tea, and Kanjeevaram Sarees are very famous in this country by their name. Every seller desires to sell their products with these names. This is what geographical tag does.
There are more than 361 Indian products that have received this Geographical Indication tag. In the year 2004, Darjeeling tea was the first Indian product to receive a geographical indication tag.
In India, the GI tag is issued as per the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of the year 1999, and the tag is given by the Geographical Indication Registry under the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Kashmiri Saffron: Production and its need to get the GI tag
The Kashmiri Saffron is mainly produced in Budgam, Kishtwar, Pulwama, and Srinagar. This high-quality saffron is grown on land which has an average height of sixteen hundred meters to eighteen hundred meters above sea level. This saffron is said to be considered as the highest quality saffron in the complete world. There are 3 types of saffron available in Kashmir, namely ~ Guchhi Saffron, Mongra Saffron, and Lachha Saffron.
Saffron is produced in many different countries. For instance, Iran is the largest saffron producing country in the world and it cultivates over 300 tonnes of saffron on a land measuring 30,000 hectares every year. Not only this, but poor quality saffron is also sold by Afghanistan and Spain at low prices. And because of this, the cost of Kashmiri Saffron has declined by 50%.
Kashmiri Saffron is nowhere similar to the saffron found in other countries, it is away too different from them. It is better in quality because of its dark color, high aroma, long and thick thread, and because of possessing all these qualities, it has high medicinal value.
The Kashmiri saffron producers are suffering from massive losses because of the low-quality saffron of Iran and other countries. Hence to get rid of this problem, Kashmiri saffron growers wish that their saffron must be distinguished in the world so that they can earn deserved price for best quality saffron. By this, the Kashmiri saffron will achieve a unique identity in the market and all this is possible after getting recognized by the Geographical Indiction tag. Hence the achievement of this tag would help the saffron cultivators of Kashmir to differentiate their saffron from the poor quality saffron produced from other countries all over the globe.
And once recognized by the GI certification, the consumers will also not mind paying higher prices for the good quality Kashmiri saffron. So it can be concluded that this achievement will not only bring benefits to the producers but it will also open the doors to the international markets.
Kashmiri saffron finally achieves the GI certification!!
“This is the first major step to put Kashmir saffron on the world map, thanks to GI tag. The recognition would help Kashmir saffron to acquire more prominence in the export market and would help the farmers get the best remunerative price,” said Mr. Girish Chandra Murmu who is the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Director of Agriculture, Mr. Altaf Aijaz Andrabi was congratulated by the Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Murmu for dedication pursuit for the GI tag for the homegrown Kashmir spice, saffron.
The Lieutenant also added that this huge achievement will help to aid the restoration of Kashmiri Saffron’s pristine glory (which has been one of the top priorities for both the Central government and the Union Territory administration.
Under the NSM i.e. the Nation Saffron Mission, the State-of-the-are Spice Park at Pampore located in the South Kashmir will be inaugurated in the August month of this year. It is believed this will help the saffron industry to enjoy profits.
“GI certification establishes specific geographical origin and certifies certain unique qualities of the product. GI certification enables those who have the right to use the sign to prevent a third party from using the sign. The GI certification would also stop the prevalent adulteration of Kashmir Saffron and the authenticated spice would fetch a much better price,” said Jammu & Kashmir’s principal secretary of Agricultural production department, Mr. Navin K. Chaudhary.
To this, Mr. Chaudhary also added that this saffron is the only saffron that is grown at an altitude of sixteen hundred meters. This property of is cultivation makes it a one-of-a-kind variant that is recognized for its special characteristics like bitter flavor, its deep red color, its distinct aroma, etc.
It was further said by Mr. Navin that the sprinkler irrigation system will be installed in the saffron cultivation fields according to the instructions give by Lieutenant Governor. This installation is expected to be complete within the next 2 months.
The saffron dependant economy is looking forward to achieving great profits after getting the GI tag. It is hoped that Kashmiri saffron will make a statement in the international markets.