Kashmir Indepth
Kashmir

Production, prices of Kashmiri saffron go up


Faizan Ahmad
Srinagar Jan 21 (KINS): After decrease in production and price over the years, saffron growers in Kashmir have achieved desired results this season. 
From selling each kilogram of saffron to Rs 1.5 lakh in previous years, it went up above Rs 1.8 lakh this season.
In May this year, Kashmiri saffron was given a Geographical Indication (GI) tag with the aim to make it illegal for someone outside the valley to make and sell a similar product under the ‘Kashmiri saffron’ name.
GI tags are indications which identify a product as originating in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.
While Kashmiri farmers say that GI tag has immensely benefitted them in this season.
Bashir Ahmad, a saffron grower from Pampore in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district said last season he sold each kilogram of saffron Rs 1.40 lakh.
 “But this time, we sold each kilogram for Rs 1.80 lakh and earned around Rs 5.5 lakh through saffron. This all is because of GI tagging as it has increased the value of Kashmiri saffron in world markets,” he told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
The Kashmiri saffron is considered the best in the world due to its flavor, colour and aroma.
But the high grade Kashmiri saffron has been hit by adulteration, mixed with the cheaper Iranian variety and being sold across the world. For an ordinary person, it becomes difficult to recognize Kashmiri saffron resulting, its value has degraded.
In Kashmir, three districts – Pulwama, Budgam, Srinagar grow saffron. Among them, Pulwama district’s Pampore has earned the title of Kashmir’s ‘saffron town’ for growing the highest and best quality saffron.
Similarly, the saffron production has increased to 13 metric tonnes this season.
As per the official figures, Kashmiri saffron’s production increased to 13 metric tonnes this season, which is highest in last one decade. Its production would otherwise remain less than 10 metric tonnes.
Saffron flowers are sensitive to vagaries of the weather. The harvest season of saffron begins from ending October.
A senior officer said GI tagging would help farmers to get better returns.
“Everything is being regulated now to stop low quality Iranian saffron which was being sold under the name of Kashmiri saffron,” he said. (KINS)

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