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Spices Board and J&K government to work for GI tag for Kashmir saffron

New Delhi: Spices Board has teamed up with the Jammu and Kashmir government to boost production and improve value addition of saffron for its consumption and trading in both domestic and international markets.

The board and the state government are also making efforts to secure GI (geographical indication) registration for authentication of high quality saffron from Kashmir.

The issues regarding the saffron trade came up for thorough deliberations at a two-day national seminar on saffron in Srinagar recently.

“The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs has initiated the development of Codex standard for saffron at its 3rd session held in Chennai in February 2017,” Spices Board chairman A Jayathilak said.

The saffron trade would get a fillip by addressing the issue of post-harvest management, especially for drying and storage, in order to retain the color, aroma and flavor of the spice, he added.

Spices Board is promoting the setting up of common mini-processing facilities and value addition units to improve the marketability of saffron in the saffron- growing areas by farmer groups.

“We have recently supported a producer group in Pampore by providing Rs 15 lakh as grant-in-aid towards 75 per cent of the cost of machinery and equipment for setting up of mini-processing and value addition unit,” he said.

Formation of spices producers’ societies is being encouraged to boost aggregation of the produce, common processing, value addition, and direct marketing of the spice between growers and exporters, processors and institutional buyers.

The Saffron Production and Export Development Agency (SPEDA), set up by the Spices Board with J&K government chief secretary and Union commerce secretary as co-chair, along with 17 members representing various stakeholders, has been pro-active in coordinating the programs and projects for R&D, domestic marketing, quality, consumption, promotion and export of saffron.

India is a leading producer of premium and finest quality saffron in the world and Kashmiri saffron has been a recipient of the Great Taste Award, the world’s most coveted award for artisan and specialty food producers.