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GI tag stops low quality Iranian saffron’ ‘Production of saffron is better than previous year, say farmers

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar Nov 01 (KINS): Saffron growers in Kashmir have a reason to rejoice as they expect a bumper crop this season. Besides, rates of the world’s costliest crop have gone up after it was given a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

President Saffron Growers Association Abdul Majeed Wani said saffron flowers are in bloom this season due to timely rainfall.

“The production is far better than previous year. We hope it will fetch a good return to farmers this year,” Wani told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

Kashmir has more than 3700 hectares of land under the cultivation of saffron.

Each year, Kashmir produces around 16 tonnes of Saffron.

Saffron is cultivated in three districts: Pulwama, Srinagar and Budgam of the valley. Pampore, the township in Pulwama district produces the most. However, the spice is now being cultivated across different districts of Kashmir valley as well.

Kashmiri saffron was given a Geographical Indication (GI) tag with the aim to make it illegal for someone outside the valley who 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 benefited them since last year.

Mohammad Ayoub, a saffron grower from Pampore said during 2020 he sold each kilogram of saffron Rs 1.40 lakh.

He cultivated three kilogram saffron on four kanals of land (20 kanals are equal to one hectare of land).

“But last year, 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,” Ahmad said.

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.

Three-to-four kanals of land produce one kilogram of saffron.

“The GI tagging has really helped since last year. A laboratory has also been set up in Pampore where a proper check is being made only then Kashmiri saffron is being exported with GI tag. The rates of each kilogram have gone up since last year from Rs 1.30 lakh in previous years to over Rs 1.80 lakh due to GI tagging,” said Mohammad Subhan, a saffron grower.

Saffron flowers are sensitive to vagaries of the weather. Its production depends on the weather conditions and the irrigation facilities. (KINS)

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