Ladakh’s apricot industry flourishes on global stage

Public TV English
Public TV English
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LADAKH: The arid Union Territory of Ladakh, known for its rugged terrain and high-altitude deserts, has emerged as a surprising powerhouse in the horticulture sector, particularly in the production and export of apricots.

With its unique climate and dedicated local farmers, Ladakh is etching a significant milestone by expanding its apricot industry to international markets.

In a historic achievement, the Union Territory of Ladakh has sent shockwaves through the horticulture industry by exporting 31 tonnes of its renowned Halman variety of apricots this year.

This notable feat is attributed to the concerted efforts of the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) of the Sham Valley, whose commitment and determination have played a pivotal role in this success story.

The vibrant journey of Ladakh’s apricot industry has been punctuated by key milestones. In the previous year, the region marked a groundbreaking moment by exporting 35 Metric Tonnes of fresh apricots to various countries, heralding a new era for Ladakh’s apricots on the global stage.

An experimental shipment to countries like Singapore, Mauritius, and Vietnam in 2022 set the stage for the success that was to follow.

Unveiling its prowess, Ladakh has earned its reputation as the largest apricot producer in the country. With an impressive production of 15,789 tonnes, accounting for nearly 62 per cent of the nation’s total, Ladakh has cemented its position as a force to be reckoned with in the horticulture sector.

The region’s commitment to quality is underscored by its production of approximately 1,999 tons of dried apricots, further solidifying its status as the leading producer of dried apricots in India.

The heart of this success story beats within the twin districts of Ladakh, where 2,303 hectares of land are devoted to apricot cultivation. This impressive expanse demonstrates the commitment of local farmers to embrace innovation and modern techniques, a critical factor in achieving such remarkable results.

At the forefront of this transformative journey is Krishak Agritech, a farmer-centric organization that has taken on the challenge of exporting Ladakh’s apricots to the international market.

Their efforts have not only introduced this exquisite fruit to the Indian market but have also effectively navigated the intricate landscape of international trade.

Executive Councilor of Social Welfare/Horticulture/Handloom/Animal and Sheep Husbandry Departments, Aga Syed Mehdi Fazily, and Deputy Commissioner/CEO, Shrikant Balasaheb Suse, played a pivotal role in flagging off the fresh apricots from Kargil, highlighting the collaborative nature of this endeavour.

With enthusiasm and a deep sense of pride, DC Shrikant Balasahab Suse emphasized that this achievement marks a significant milestone for Kargil, showcasing how Krishak Agritech’s endeavours have bridged the gap between local entrepreneurship and international markets.

This venture is more than a commercial success. it’s a testament to the region’s commitment to minimizing wastage, empowering farmers, and ensuring fair value for their produce, he said.

As the Chief Horticulture Officer, Ali Raza, revealed, Krishak Agritech has already exported six metric tons of fresh apricots from Kargil and 31 metric tons from Leh. These apricots have reached markets in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and the Delhi/NCR region, laying the foundation for further expansion within domestic markets.

Ladakh’s apricots are more than just a commodity, they embody the unique essence of the region. Classified into two categories based on kernel taste and colour, these fruits reveal Ladakh’s rich diversity. The distinctiveness of “Khante” (bitter) and “Nyarmo” (sweet) kernels is further refined by the variations in seed stone colour—white for “Raktsey Karpo” and brown for “Raktsey Nakpo” or “Nyarmo”,” he added.

Ladakh’s foray into international markets has also earned recognition for its delicious produce, opening doors for other local products like yak milk, yak wool, and apples.

The region’s potential for economic growth has been identified in entrepreneurship and employment generation opportunities, with apricot production, Pashmina processing, and tourism standing out as key sectors for driving Ladakh’s economic advancement. (ANI)

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