Kashmir Saffron got GI Tag
Why in News
- Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE.
- It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
- It is a very precious and costly product.
- In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘bahukam’.
- It is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Uniqueness: The features which differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over are:
- It is the only saffron that is grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m above mean sea level.
- It has longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing.
- It also has a high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).
- Types: There are three types of saffron available in Kashmir — Lachha Saffron, Mongra Saffron and Guchhi Saffron.
- Kashmir saffron is used globally as a spice. It also helps in revitalizing health.
- It is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
- Benefit of tag: With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron would gain more prominence in the export market.
- Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.