JAMMU: After inclusion of saffron in the list of Geographical Indication (GI) tag products, Jammu & Kashmir wants to claim the same status for gucchi mushrooms from Doda. This mushroom variety is among the world's costliest food items that grows wild and is collected manually.
Through Great Mission Group Consultancy, Pune, the J&K administration has submitted an application for its GI registration with the Registrar of GI Registry, Chennai. Ganesh S Hingmire, chairman of the consultancy group, presented the copy of GI application to J&K principal secretary, agriculture production & farmers welfare, Navin Kumar Choudhary, who lauded his efforts and also praised Sagar D Doifode, Doda deputy commissioner, for his painstaking efforts for the Doda gucchi project.
Choudhary averred that Doda gucchi is one of the most popular, flavourful, medicinally beneficial mushroom species found in the forest areas of J&K. It is priced at anything between Rs 30,000 to 50,000 for a kilogramme. Scientifically named morchella esculenta, it is prized for its spongy, honeycomb texture and unique flavour.
Choudhary said the GI tag will prevent unauthorized use of a registered geographical indication by others and provide legal protection to Doda gucchi mushroom, which in turn will boost its export. “It will also promote economic prosperity to locals in the geographical territory as the farming community follows the practice of collection of gucchi from the forest areas from generations together. They penetrate deep inside dense forests for its collection,” he said.
On July 25 last year, the Government of India had issued a certificate of GI registration for saffron grown in Kashmir Valley.