Kashmir Saffron gets GI Tag

Context: Recently, Kashmir Saffron got Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry. The application was filed by the Directorate of Agriculture, Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

About Kashmir saffron 

  • Kashmir saffron is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir in regions such as Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar.
  • It is the only saffron produced in the world at 1600 m to 1800 m AMSL, adding to its uniqueness and differentiating it from other saffron varieties available around the globe.
  • Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around 1st Century BCE.
  • Safran is referred to as 'bahukam' in ancient Sanskrit literature.
  • It is a very precious and costly product. Iran is the biggest saffron producer and India is a close contender.
  • Uses - It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes. The traditional kashmiri cuisine is associated with it and represents the region's rich cultural heritage.

3 types of Kashmir Saffron

  • Lachha Saffron – with stigmas just separated from the flowers and dried without further processing.
  • Mongra Saffron – in which stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally.
  • Guchhi Saffron – It is the same as Lachha, but its stigmas are joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread, whereas in Lachha, the dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers.

Benefits of GI tag

  • Kashmir saffron is gaining more popularity in the export market with the GI tag, and will help farmers get the best remunerative quality.
  • The tag will help Kashmir saffron to compete at the international level and with Iranian saffron, which has captured over 90% share of the world market and with which it faces a stiff competition.
  • The tag will also boost the production of saffron, which has seen a steep decline by around 65% in 2018 and shrinking of the land under cultivation.
  • The GI certification would also stop adulteration prevalent in the trade of Kashmir saffron.