Kashmir Kongposh (saffron) has obtained protection and obtains IG label from Webindia123 Editor, Gardening, Animals and Plant Life Article


Item /
Animals and plant life /

Kashmir Kongposh (saffron) benefits from protection and obtains the IG label

It’s a cold late September morning, the air brimming with the scent of Crocus sativus, the flower that produces the precious spice known as saffron, or zafran to its Persian name.

Against the backdrop of high snow-capped mountains and a road lined with willow trees is a field as large as a football field, filled with purple flowers. The villagers have already occupied themselves before dawn, battling the cold in their traditional pherans and plucking the delicate flowers in their wicker baskets.

The biggest step taken to protect the pride of Jammu and Kashmir is to give it the Geographical Indication (GI) label to keep adultery and counterfeits at bay. Saffron is worth its weight in gold. Kashmir saffron has been associated with elegance, sophistication, and hundreds of years of history. It should not be seen as just another agricultural product, but rather as part of the historical and cultural heritage of the region, which should be conserved and safeguarded.

The coloring strength (crocin concentration), the smell (safranal) and the taste of saffron determine its quality (picrocrocin). The concentration of safranal is high in the finest saffron. Kashmir saffron is famous all over the world for its very high content of crocin and saffron. The quality and high cost of labor make it a high price. GI certification will help farmers obtain the best remunerative price and prevent the common practice of adulteration of saffron.

In the Indian subcontinent, saffron is known by many names: Zafran in Urdu (derived from Persian), Kesar in Hindi, Kong Posh in cashmere, and Kungumapoo in Tamil. The Mughals gave it status, the Turkish kings of Central Asia who made Kashmir home in the 16th century, taking saffron wherever they established their court and bringing it into their cuisine.

Under Mughal rule, saffron, as a color and fragrance, became common in royal kitchens. It has become well known in biryani, golden rice stacked with meat. It was used in lamb stews; in breads like sheermal, a thick, sweet flatbread dipped in saffron water that is now eaten in Lucknow, the capital of Awadh in northern India; in fruit sorbets as an antidote to tired people; and in phirni, a rice pudding made with spices and popular in North India and Pakistan.

There are many local legends about how saffron came to Kashmir. It is said that in the 12th century, Sufi Saints Khawaja Masood Wali and Sheikh Sharif-u-din Wali offered a local chief a saffron bulb after curing them of an illness during their journey. Another story claims that the Persians brought it with them in 500 BC to advance trade and the market. A third story takes the spice back to the Tantric Hindu kings who mixed it with hot water to create love potions.

Although the origin of saffron is debatable, there is a common consensus: Kashmir saffron is the sweetest and most valuable spice in the world. Its stands are thicker and more fragrant than its Iranian counterpart, which is responsible for 90 percent of global saffron production. Kashmiri farmers sell it for Rs 250,000 or $ 3,385.

Kashmiri saffron is cultivated in Pampore, south of Srinagar. In addition to adding flavor to foods, it is of immense importance in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, perfumery, and the textile dye production industry. Pampore has enjoyed a bountiful harvest of spice this season thanks to the National Saffron Mission (NMS).

A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products which have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation which are due to this origin. To function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product must be essentially due to the place of origin. A geographical indication allows those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not comply with the applicable standards.

Saffron is cultivated in Kashmir due to its distinct geo-climatic conditions. These give the product a unique value and prevent it from being replicated elsewhere. However, due to adulteration, alleged illegal imports from Iran, and inadequate marketing and branding practices, this sector remains largely untapped.

Saffron producers and processors can create more successful businesses by combining the GI of Kashmiri saffron with a smart marketing and branding technique. It can help in the development of a reliable and well-known brand for Kashmir saffron. It will also help increase consumer loyalty, product distinctiveness and distinctiveness, legal protections and higher profit margins, nationally and internationally.

The saffron flower has three parts – the flower petals – which are used in medicine, the yellow strands – which are of little use, and the red strands in the middle – pure saffron. A single flower produces only three red sprigs; and 1 gram of saffron is made up of about 350 strands. Thus, for a kilogram of spice, more than 150,000 flowers are sieved and scanned. Unfortunately, unscrupulous practices like selling yellow strands mixed with red are common.

The following are the objectives of ensuring effective protection of “Kashmir saffron” through the GI; To:

* avoid wrongly using the name of Kashmir to sell saffron all over the world;

* provide genuine Kashmiri saffron to consumers;

* allow the commercial advantages of the “Kashmir” brand to reach legitimate saffron producers in Kashmir.

The IG label will support the tourism industry by projecting a positive image of the place. It is a useful market access tool as it adds value to items designated under this title, allowing them to access larger markets. Producers will be able to promote distinct products with easily recognizable qualities. Thanks to this, agrotourism can be stimulated.

It will also encourage employment of local rural people, shifting the focus of youth from widespread terrorism in the valley to something productive and income-generating. Fields are also a great source of motivation; located along the national road, tourists may be tempted to shop. It is a sustainable marketing technique that will bring value to the Kashmir region and increase faith and goodwill in the minds of people.

Thousands of kilograms of Iranian saffron are imported through various routes and mixed with Kashmir saffron by several local sellers who have established customers across India. This business has been going on for years and the profit from this counterfeit transaction is in the millions of dollars. An increasing number of farmers in the saffron region of Kashmir have turned their saffron crops into apple orchards. Producers are forced to convert to fruit production because they do not receive acceptable prices for their products.

Saffron is one of the many products, such as nuts and namda, which give Kashmir an exclusive profile. Kashmir saffron is the best in the world. Its uniqueness comes from the fact that it is cultivated at an altitude of 1600 to 1800 meters above mean sea level. It has a longer and thicker stigma and aroma. Kashmir had almost lost its name as the producer of the best saffron in the world; thanks to adultery, so much so that people have no identification of real saffron. Traders all over India will sell you cute little boxes of “Asli Zafran” claiming to be from Kashmir, when in reality they are colorful stalls used in as many saffron-imitating candies as possible.

The GI certification should help restore Kashmir saffron to its old reputation and its foreign market. The GI label is expected to help Kashmir saffron gain prominence in the export market.

Jammu and Kashmir UT Lieutenant Governor GC said on July 25 that Kashmir saffron was the top priority of the Indian government and its administration. Explaining the meaning of the geographical indication, the principal secretary of the Agricultural Production Department, Naween Choudhary, said that the GI certification would establish a specific geographical origin which imparts certain unique qualities to the product.

But IG certification cannot be the end all; its objective must be a respectable income for the farmer and the territory of the Union. It requires at least two steps: (1) expanding the area of ​​saffron cultivation, (2) scientific advertising worldwide, to the uniqueness of Kashmir saffron.

The extended cultivable area will give more yields and employ more farmers. And that Kashmir produces the most unique saffron in the world must be advertised in Europe and the Gulf countries using the latest communication techniques illustrating the different uses of the spice.

South Asia should not be forgotten; it offers a vast market for Saffron. The arts and crafts, which symbolize Kashmir to the world, also require urgent government attention. Over the past 3.5 years, this industry and these artisans have suffered, first because of the insurgency, and then because of the frequent appeals to “Hartal” by the separatist leaders. This industry is not dead but has been paralyzed.

Since 2003, India has used the GI system to protect over 200 high quality items based on their geographic origin. Kashmir has six Geographical Indications in Handicrafts including Kashmir Pashmina Shawl, Kanni Shawl, Kashmir Hand Knotted Rug, Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving, etc. – who have already established an enormous goodwill and reputation on a global scale.

TAGS: saffron, Kashmir saffron, Kongposh,


Terri S. Tomasini