In four districts of Jammu and Kashmir – Pulwama, Budgam, Srinagar and Kishtwar, people generally grow saffron. Among these four, Pulwama’s Pampore region has earned the title of Kashmir’s ‘saffron town’ for growing the best quality saffron. Reportedly, around 30,000 families in this area are associated with saffron cultivation. However, due to global warming, the growth of crocus flowers is now been decreased.ALSO READ: j&K: The youth have no option left but to pick up arms, says Mehbooba MuftiAccording to the 2011 census, approximately 11,000 women in the Kashmir valley work in the saffron farming sector. The key role is of separating the delicate saffron thread from the flower. Each thread consists of three strands. The threads are then dried in the sunlight and are then preserved in a cotton cloth in a way that air can continuously pass through to avoid the accumulation of moisture and rot.

Moreover, knocked by a change in climate, poor irrigation, and imports of the cheaper Iranian variety, the saffron production in the valley has also been declined rapidly. According to the Department of Agriculture Kashmir, the production of Kashmiri saffron has declined by 65% over the past two decades. Moreover, in the past 10 years, many farmers have already shifted to other high yielding farming options.

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Previously, in May this year, Kashmiri saffron was given a special Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the geographical indications registry. Initially, the request was filed by the Directorate of Agriculture and Government of Jammu and Kashmir. The tag was given with the aim to make it illegal for someone outside the valley to make and sell a similar product under the ‘Kashmiri saffron’ name.

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