Soon after taking over as lieutenant governor, Girish Chander Murmu took a personal interest in ensuring that Kashmir saffron gets GI certification, he said. Pampore, the hub of saffron in Kashmir, is expected to have a bumper crop of the spice this season due to initiatives taken by the National Mission on Saffron (NMS).
Under the NMS, a project of Rs 411 crore was approved by the Union government under which an area of 3,715 hectare for saffron was proposed to be rejuvenated. “The GI certification will stop the prevalent adulteration of Kashmir saffron, thereby, authenticated saffron will fetch much better prices,” an official said.
He said that Kashmir saffron is the only one in the world grown at an altitude of 1600 metres which differentiates it from other varieties due to its unique characteristics like longer and thicker stigma, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavor and chemical-free processing.
The official said that an area of 2,500 hectares has been rejuvenated so far and a bumper production is expected during the current season. Expressing happiness over the development, the Jammu and Kashmir LG said that this is the first major step to put saffron produced in the Kashmir Valley on the world map.
With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron will acquire more prominence in export market and will help farmers get the best price for it, he said. Murmu said that with the completion and inauguration of the State of Art Spice Park next month, these measures will prove to be a game changer for Kashmir saffron.
Navin K Choudhary, Principal Secretary to Government, Agricultural Production Department said GI certification establishes specific geographical origin and certifies certain unique qualities of the product. He said that on the directions of the LG, sprinkler irrigation systems are being installed on a war footing in saffron fields and are likely to be completed in the next two weeks.