Saving saffron

  • 30/03/2004

Saving saffron with a view to weeding out adulteration from the saffron industry of Jammu and Kashmir (j&k), local experts have proposed the registration of the product under geographical indication (gi) in a manner similar to Basmati rice. They have also suggested that a single brand of Kashmiri saffron be floated.

Nowadays, inferior quality Iranian saffron is increasingly being mixed with the Kashmiri variety. This has left the state's farmers jittery. While Kashmiri saffron is purer and sells for Rs 38,000 per kilogramme (kg), Iranian saffron is priced at Rs 16,000-20,000 per kg.

"It is not outsiders alone who resort to malpractices. Some of our own people are also involved in selling the adulterated variety,' alleges G M Pampori, president, Kashmiri Saffron Growers and Dealers Association. "We had suggested the registration of saffron under gi and are in touch with Delhi. But it is still just a proposal,' reveals A Sahasaraman, principal secretary of j&k's industries department. It may, however, be noted that providing gi for Kashmiri saffron would merely safeguard the domestic interests of saffron-growers. In the international market, gi protection is extended only to wines and spirits.

According to Pampori, unprecedented drought and disease have also led to a decrease in saffron production in the valley. "We had set up two marketing societies

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