1. Agriculture World

Growing Importance of Kashmir’s Saffron Market

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee
Kesar
Kashmir’s Saffron

Globally saffron or Kesar is the most expensive spice, with 1 pound (450 grams) costing between 500 and 5,000 U.S. dollars. On the domestic front Kashmiri saffron is the sweetest and most precious spice in the world.

The strands of the Kashmir origin saffron are thicker and more fragrant than Iran, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the world’s saffron production. From Kashmir most of the saffron comes from Pampore region. Saffron is part of the cultural heritage of the Region, associated with the famous Kashmiri cuisine, its medicinal values and the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir 

The saffron flower has three parts – A) Petals which is generally consumed by the medicine industry, B) The yellow strands, which do not have much use and C) The Red strands – which is the “pure saffron” and used widely. Kesar farming normally starts April onwards and the soil is plowed twice before the operations in order to allow moisture to seep in.  

Kashmiri saffron had received the GI tag in July 2020 and this has boosted the domestic as well as the overseas business opportunities for Kashmir’s Saffron Market. With production declining and concerns of adulteration increasing, the prestigious GI tag is expected to restore saffron its earlier market size. A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. 

In another major development, the Jammu and Kashmir government for the first time had launched the red spice in the UAE market. The GI tag in July was given for Kashmiri Saffron with the objective of enhancing demand prospects from global markets. All in the all these developments do indicate that the saffron market of Kashmir has good potential moving ahead. It is the nation’s pride that Kashmiri saffron has been introduced to the UAE market for the first time.  

For cultivation purpose saffron is collected from the blossoms of Saffron plant, commonly known as saffron crocus or saffron bulbs. It is propagated by bulbs called corms. Each corm forms new bulbs, and this is how the plant multiplies. The corms of the saffron — which cost 50,000 rupees per kanal, or 1/8 of an acre — are sown in August or September. The plant begins to sprout by middle of October. After this they are picked, dried, and sorted for a month. One saffron bulb can keep producing flowers for 15 days if it is healthy, and a single flower can produce just three red strands. One gram of saffron is made from 350 strands nearly. 

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