Port Wings News Network:
In a move aimed at boosting export of agricultural and food products from Ladakh, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry through its export promotion body APEDA is in process of hand-holding of Apricot value chain stakeholders to enhance export from Ladakh under the brand ‘Ladakh Apricot’.
It is expected that the initiatives of APEDA towards export promotion of Apricots and other agri-products would give a fillip to overall development of the region. The export promotion strategy of APEDA places major focus
on canopy management of the apricot orchard/trees obtain a uniform and better-quality harvest of apricots. It would help in sustained marketing, product development, research and development (R&D), enhancement of traceability and brand promotion of apricot, which is one of the important fruit crops of Ladakh and is locally known as ‘Chuli’.
APEDA, in coordination with Ladakh’s Horticulture Department, has also planned to organize awareness drives through canopy management in Kargil and Leh wherein scientist from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKAUST-Kashmir) and Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) will help farmers to manage their apricot orchards/trees in better way to have uniform harvest.
APEDA is also focusing on strengthening packaging for fresh apricots, transport protocol and Brand Promotion ‘Ladakh Apricots’ for better price realization of apricots of trans-Himalayan Ladakh, which are known for their better quality.
Work on obtaining GI tag for Ladakh apricot is also in process. Notably, bulk of the apricot produced in Ladakh is consumed locally and only a small quantity of it is sold in dried form.
Given that logistics support plays a key factor in export promotion of any product,APEDA is working towards the augmentation of logistics support apricots too through air on the lines of market linkage scheme – PARVAZ and by road to nearest international exit ports for streamlining the exports from the region.
APEDA, in association with UT of Ladakh, is also facilitating towards development of export infrastructures such as setting up of integrated pack house facilities with grading lines, pre-cooling units with cold storages and insulated/refrigerated transportation up to packhouse/exit ports, common infrastructure facilities such as pre-shipment treatment facilities e.g. irradiation, Vapor Heat Treatment, Hot Water Dip Treatment for compliance with Phyto-Sanitary requirements of importing countries.
APEDA had identified fresh apricot fruit exports from UT of Ladakh during the year 2021 and trial shipments were sent to Dubai during the fag end of the apricot season 2021. The results and acceptability of the product was overwhelming due to its unique taste and aroma as well as demand for the product in the international market.
APEDA organized an international buyer-seller meet in Leh on June 14, 2022 which was just before the commencement of the Apricot harvest of the season. More than 30 buyers from India, USA, Bangladesh, Oman, Dubai, Mauritius, etc were mobilized to interact with the producers and suppliers of apricots and other agricultural products from the UT of Ladakh.
As a result, during the 2022 season 35 MT fresh Apricots were exported to various countries from Ladakh for the first time. Trial shipments of Ladakh Apricots also took place to countries like Singapore, Mauritius, Vietnam during the season 2022.
Ladakh is the biggest apricot producer in the country with a total production of 15,789 tonnes that constitutes nearly 62 percent share in total. The region produced approximately 1,999 tons of dried apricot, making it the largest producer of dried apricot in the country. The total area under apricot cultivation is 2,303 hectares in Ladakh.
The native apricot genotypes of Ladakh possess unique and important characteristics, such as high TSS content, late and extended flowering and fruit maturity, and white seed stone phenotype, which offer opportunity for exporting to different nations worldwide.
In view of the uniqueness and premium quality of apricots of Ladakh, there is immense scope for Ladakh to emerge on the world map for Apricot production and export.
Ladakh Apricot is classified into two broad categories based on kernel taste and stone color. Fruits with bitter kernels are called khante meaning bitter, while those with sweet kernels are called nyarmo meaning sweet. They are further divided into two sub-groups based on seed stone color. Fruit with white seed stone is called Raktsey Karpo (Rakstey means seed, karpo means white), while those with brown seed stone are called Raktsey Nakpo or Nyarmo (black seeded).