Kashmir saffron gets GI tag
The aromatic spice possesses medicinal properties
- Kashmir saffron, which is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir, has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry.
- The spice is grown in some regions of Kashmir, including Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar.
- Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.
- Kashmir saffron is a very precious and costly product.
- With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron would gain more prominence in the export market.
- Kashmir saffron is renowned globally as a spice.
- It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
- It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
- 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).
- The saffron available in Kashmir is of three types
- ‘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; and
- ‘Guchhi Saffron’, which is the same as Lachha, except that the latter’s dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers while the former has stigmas joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread.