The J&K administration on Saturday issued the certificate of geographical indication (GI) registration for saffron grown in the Kashmir Valley, even as the saffron crop sees both decline in its production as well as shrinking of the land under cultivation.
Describing it as “a momentous decision of the Centre”, J&K Lieutenant Governor G. C. Murmu said this was the first major step to put saffron produced in the Kashmir Valley on the world map with authentication.
“With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron will acquire more prominence in the export market and would help farmers get the best remunerative price,” he said.
The Lieutenant Governor, while complimenting the Director-Agriculture, Kashmir, said restoring the pristine glory of Kashmir saffron is top priority for both the government of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir as well as the government of India.
“With the completion and inauguration of the state-of-the-art Spice Park next month, these measures will prove to be the game changer for Kashmir saffron,” Mr. Murmu added.
The GI certification would also stop adulteration prevalent in the trade of Kashmir saffron.
Kashmir saffron, grown at an altitude of 1,600 meters, saw a steep decline in production by around 65%, from 16 metric tonnes to 5.6 metric tonnes, in 2018.
According to an official data, the saffron land cultivation has also come down to 3,715 hectares in 2009-10 from 5,707 hectares in 1996. Besides, saffron yield has shown a sharp decline from 3.13 kg per hectare to 2.5 kg per hectare.
Kashmir saffron faces stiff competition from Iranian saffron, which has captured over 90% share of the world market.