Saffron is the important spice crop used in Indian cuisine since time immemorial and has medicinal properties. Currently, it is grown in the Pampore and Kishtwar regions of JKUT. As it is a low volume turnout crop in Indian agriculture, the commercial activity of saffron is termed as 'Golden Zest'. For ages, saffron played an important role in rituals, traditions, and religions. It is used in many dishes as a color and flavor agent. The uses of this spice are many, traditional and in modern medicine, it is extensively used as antiseptic, antispasmodic, anticancer, an antidepressant. While in herbal, it is used as an important ingredient for curing respiratory problems. Saffron is widely used in many industries as a dye in textiles, as an aroma in perfume making, and in many cosmetics.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, use mainly as a seasoning and coloring agent in food. Saffron has long been the world's costliest spice by weight. Although some doubts remain on its origin, it is believed that saffron originated in Iran. They have an adventitious root system from where leaves and flowers are born, the plant leaves are stemless between four to ten leaves that are dark green in color and are very narrow and long. Each plant bears about two to three flowers. The crocus flowers or saffron flowers are purple in color popularly called "saffron rose consisting of six petals, three stamens, and three red orange stigmas. The delicate dried saffron threads are nothing but the stigmas and styles that are plucked from crocus flowers. Because of its high cash value, saffron is known as 'Golden Condiment throughout the world.
The global saffron market size was valued at INR 65,5370 Crores in 2019 and is anticipated to attain a revenue-based CAGR of 7.3% from 2020 to 2027. The market is expected to grow over the next few years on account of growing demand from the pharmaceutical sector particularly in countries with rapid population expansion. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices by weight and is used in various applications, including food, beverages, and medicines. At present, major demand comes from herbal remedy, perfumery, textile dyeing, and cooking spices. Medicinal application is likely to remain a key focus area for market vendors on account of its use as an anti-depressant, antioxidant, and antiseptic. It can also be used in the treatment of whooping cough, asthma, and dry skin. Rapid development in the cosmetics industry on account of increasing population and improved standard of living is likely to boost the demand for saffron in the coming years. Growing demand for anti-blemish creams, fairness creams, and cleansers is also projected to be a key driving factor for the market. Increasing labor costs, requirement of specific conditions for cultivation, and high price of the products are projected to restrain the market growth over the coming years. Additionally, lack of integration in the supply chain may create challenges in the distribution network, which may hinder the expansion of the saffron market.
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