Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Saffron Heritage of Kashmir




Site location:  Pampore Karewas, Kashmir, Northern India

Area of GIAHS: 3,200 hectares

Population working for this system: 17,000 farm families

Topological Characteristics: fertile lands

Climatic Classification: tropical conditions

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: -

Primary Income Sources: agriculture

Saffron is mentioned in the 5th century B.C in Kashmiri records and is still part of the agricultural economy. Integrated an annual crop system, Saffron is also a cash crop. With respect to occupation, only 1 per cent of saffron growers are dependent on any other agriculture.

Saffron is part of the cultural heritage of the Region, associated with the famous Kashmiri cuisine, its medicinal values and the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir. Looking at the social organization, Kashmiri women are behind the whole saffron story being the custodian of the knowledge.

However, Saffron cultivation has been facing severe challenges of sustainability and livelihood security with urgent need to adopt appropriate technologies, to address water scarcity, productivity loss and market volatilities.