Connoisseurs of Kashmir’s Gucchi Yakhni Pulao swear by this special mushroom. But it is only recently that efforts have been made to protect the indigenous mushroom of Jammu and Kashmir, which according to the media, is known to sell at over Rs 20,000 per kilo.
In January this year, an NGO, Borderless World Foundation, facilitated by the Director of Agriculture, Jammu & Kashmir, approached the Geographical Indication Registry (GI Registry) to recognise the prized mushroom of Jammu and Kashmir, locally known as ‘gucchi’ with the GI tag.
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According to the application filed, the best of the gucchi (Morchella esculenta) mushrooms are found in the forests of Doda, a district in Jammu and Kashmir. The statement presented by the NGO says that the distinctive, exclusive and rare character of the Doda Gucchi is the result of several characters viz. the altitude of Doda (2,000 metres), the cold environment, the loamy soil rich in humus, and the coniferous forest.
The snowfall in winter and the monsoon rains are also crucial for their quality. The mushrooms, which vary from oblong to bulbous in shape, have a honeycomb head. These are usually collected in March-April and July-August, after they reach the desired height and diameter. The local people still follow the ‘orthodox’ method of drying the mushrooms.
J&K Govt pushes for Geographical Indication (GI) tagging for Doda ( Bhadarwah) Gucchi Mushroom.— Ansuya Jamwal (@AnsuyaJamwal) January 13, 2021
Marking a new age of heirloom crops & products, Deptt of Agriculture Production JK has taken a historical initiative by pushing for Geographical Indication of Gucchi #morels #GITag https://t.co/fRHuJY6vjt
The mushroom is also said to possess nutritional and medicinal properties and is a rich source of protein.
With the GI tag, the Doda Gucchi mushroom will be able to carve out a special place for itself in the world market as well as help the local farmers benefit.
According to details available on the GI Registry website, the application is in the pre-examination stage.