Pulwama, Apr 03 : The Bhat family in Pampore, Pulwama district, South Kashmir, not only established the first saffron enterprise in the valley, but has continued to sell pure saffron for more than a century. According to them, the family's great grandfather, Haji Mohammad Ramzan Bhat, began the regularised saffron trade from Kashmir to other locations of British India.
Khurshid Ahmad Bhat, a young saffron grower from NamblabalPampore, has taken over the family business from his father, G M Bhat.
According to Khurshid's narration, his son Haji Mohammad Sultan Bhat inherited the business from Ramzan.
"Sultan set up first registered firm for saffron trade in Kashmir, Sultan Bhat and Co. with his four sons, G M Bhat, Jalal u Din Bhat, Abdur Rashid Bhat, and Mohammad Shafi Bhat," Khurshid said. He added that the furm was well-known to major industrial houses throughout the nation for selling pure saffron until 1993, when it was dissolved.
GM Bhat established Kashmir Kaiser Kingdom in the same year (1993), and his son Khurshid took over .
The firm claims to provide its clients with saffron of the highest grower's quality while upholding the history of the pure saffron trade.
He added that they check quality before buying based on their experience and laboratory tests and that they both cultivate saffron on their farm and purchase it from local growers.The trader said demand for Kashmir saffron is so high in the country that they don’t need to export.
He said that their brand, Dolly Gold, has around more than 200 regular customers in different industries like perfumery, beverages, spices , food , ice creams and medicines in South India states.
The young trader rues that adulteration and climate change has caused significant damage to the saffron economy of Jammu and Kashmir.
“ Some unregistered firms use cough syrups to add weight to processed saffron which breaks the confidence of customers,” he said, adding that unfavourable climatic conditions over past one and half decade has also caused dent to the production.
He suggests further measures be taken to address to these two issues to restore production of saffron to its past levels.
The trade eyes on upcoming tourist season when visitors from different states flock Kashmir.
He added that for ease of tourists they have come up with small packs of saffron ranging from one to ten grams.
“They can buy any pack according to their purchasing power,” he said.