Early Times Report
Srinagar, Mar 2: In an effort to end adulteration, several products produced in Jammu and Kashmir have received Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the government.
This has boosted the morale of artisans and farmers who otherwise would receive less value of their products in the markets across the world.
World’s most expensive mushrooms Gucchi which are grown in Jammu and Kashmir are set to receive GI tag. “Very soon, Gucchi will be given GI tag so there is no scope of adulteration,” a senior official of Agriculture Department said.
The mushroom, known as ‘Gucchi’ or ‘Morel’, is grown in Doda district Jammu and Kashmir’s Department of Agriculture had filed an application to secure GI protection for Gucchi.
Similarly, Kashmiri handicrafts have also been given GI tag. “Some artisans now place a GI tag on Kashmir’s shawls. Artisans produce Kashmir shawls of pure quality here but there are some people who purchase shawls in other parts and then branded as Kashmiri shawls and cheating with customers. To stop this practice, we place a GI tag on our products,” Mohammad Yunis, a shawl weaver said.
GI tags are indications which identify a product as originating in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.
There are 2.5 lakh people associated with handicrafts including carpets, papier-machie, shawls, wood carving and copper in Kashmir, who are finding it difficult to feed their families.
Kashmir’s handicrafts are famous due to quality and are manmade. Gulf and European countries form a major customer base for Kashmiri carpets and Pashmina shawls. Presently, handicrafts earn around Rs.1700 crores as foreign exchange every year to J&K.
Similarly, Kashmiri saffron was also given a GI tag with the aim to make it illegal for someone outside the valley to make and sell a similar product under the ‘Kashmiri saffron’ name.
“The GI tagging has really helped us. A laboratory has also been set up in Pampore where a proper check is being made only then Kashmiri saffron is being exported with GI tag. The rates of each kilogram have gone up this season from Rs 1.30 lakh in previous years to over Rs 1.80 lakh due to GI tagging,” said Bashir Ahmad, a saffron grower from Pampore.
The Kashmiri saffron is considered the best in the world due to its flavor, colour and aroma.
But the high grade Kashmiri saffron has been hit by adulteration, mixed with the cheaper Iranian variety and being sold across the world. For an ordinary person, it becomes difficult to recognize Kashmiri saffron resulting, its value has degraded.
More than 16,000 families are associated with saffron production in Pampore.
“Everything is being regulated now to stop low quality Iranian saffron which was being sold under the name of Kashmiri saffron,” an official of Agriculture Department said.
Similarly, there is now demand from growers to give GI tag for Kashmiri apple.