Srinagar: Brand Kashmir is going places with saffron being the showstopper.
National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) has accorded accreditation to Pampore-based India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC), giving a much-needed fillip to saffron exports.
This is the second biggest move after the Centre approved Geographic Indication (GI) tagging of Kashmir saffron to protect it from cheaper Iranian and Spanish varieties.
With this accreditation, the saffron produced from Kashmir will undergo an international level quality check and certification at IKSTC Pampore, making its export hassle-free without any further sampling or testing en route.
Accreditation is the third-party attestation related to the conformity of spice through medical laboratory, calibration laboratory, proficiency testing provider, and certified reference material producer.
An official said the agriculture department had approached NABL for granting the accreditation to the IIKSTC for easy export and international marketing.
“An official procedure was followed for over six months. There were regular investigations of the IIKSTC and queries by the NABL to assess the machinery and procedures followed during testing saffron. Now finally, the accreditation has been given to the IIKSTC, which is yet another big achievement for saffron growers,” he said.
Earlier the samples of Kashmir saffron were sent to other labs for sampling since IIKSTC was notified laboratory for basic tests only.
Director, Agriculture department, Kashmir, Choudhary Mohammad Iqbal told The Kashmir Monitor that the accreditation will prove to be a “game changer” for marketing and valuation of saffron in the international markets.
“It is a great achievement for us. This accreditation means that no court of law can challenge the results and quality of Kashmir saffron once tested in IIKSTC,” he said.
Another official from the agriculture department said the accreditation will give international recognition to the Kashmiri saffron besides making access to the global market easy.
“Data and results of accredited laboratories are readily accepted in overseas markets. It helps to reduce costs for manufacturers and exporters. It reduces or eliminates the need for retesting in another country,” he said.
Last year, the production of the world’s costliest spice crossed 13 metric tonnes for the first time in the last 10 years. The valley produced 13.36 metric tonnes of saffron last year. In 2019, the total saffron production was 12.495 metric tonnes.
Last year, the Centre approved Geographic Indication (GI) tagging of Kashmir saffron to protect it from cheaper Iranian and Spanish varieties. Officials said the GI tagging has certainly helped the growers to get better rates in Indian and international markets.