The J&K administration recently issued the GI tag for saffron grown in the Kashmir Valley, even as the saffron crop sees both decline in its production as well as shrinking of the land under cultivation.
Benefits of according GI tag to Kashmir Saffron
It is the first major step to put saffron produced in the Kashmir Valley on the world map with authentication.
With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron will also acquire more prominence in the export market and would help farmers get the best remunerative price
The GI certification would also stop adulteration prevalent in the trade of Kashmir saffron.
About Kashmir Saffron
It is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir.
It is the only saffron that is grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m above mean sea level.
Kashmir saffron is used worldwide as a spice. It also helps in revitalizing health.
It is also used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
It faces stiff competition from Iranian saffron, which has captured over 90% share of the world market.
A steep decline in production of Kashmir Saffron in recent times
The decline is to the extent of around 65%, from 16 metric tonnes to 5.6 metric tonnes, in 2018.
According to an official data, the saffron land cultivation has also come down to 3,715 hectares in 2009-10 from 5,707 hectares in 1996.
Along with this, the saffron yield has shown a sharp decline from 3.13 kg per hectare to 2.5 kg per hectare.
About GI tag
GI is primarily an agricultural, natural, or a manufactured product (handicrafts and also industrial goods) originating from the definite geographical territory.
Significance of a GI tag: It conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
Once the GI protection is granted and no other producer can misuse the name to the market similar products.
It also provides comfort to the customers about the authenticity of that product.
Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999
This Act is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, who is also Registrar of Geographical Indications.
Other Provisions in this regard:
It is covered as an element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under the Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.
GI is governed by the WTO’s Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of an Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
GI is covered under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property as an element of IPRs.