In a bid to boost exports of agricultural produce from Ladakh and enhance farmers’ incomes, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, or Apeda, has decided to promote and brand organic items from the region.
The initiative will be executed in association with officials of the Union territory as well as the Defence Institute of High-Altitude Research (DIHAR) "Following a series of interactions held recently at Ladakh, identified areas of work include enhancement of production of fruits with medicinal values including sea buckthorn, apricot and organic produce and introduction of the traceability system, capacity-building of farmers and value addition of products," commerce ministry said in a statement.
Apeda would provide technical assistance for building the capacity of stakeholder including entrepreneurs, officials, farmers, branding and marketing of Ladakhi products and making Ladakh an ‘organic’ region. Apeda would provide special assistance for branding and promotion of Ladakhi products, especially sea buckthorn which is rich in Vitamin C, omega and other essential nutrients.
Emphasizing the need for minimal or zero use of chemicals in the farming, during the interactions with Ladakh officials, Apeda has urged non-use of chemicals and fertilizers at the earliest and introduction of traceability systems to help in branding Ladakhi products. "The focus of this collaborations is to ensure that Ladakh achieves the goal of becoming an organic region by 2025," commerce ministry said.
Officials of Ladakh under the Mission Organic Development Initiative have formed an organic study group for the drafting of ‘organic’ certification documents and implementation of certification process in phases. The technological interventions introduced by DIHAR to the Ladakh administration is helping farmers grow leafy vegetables at -25 degrees.
"Apeda would be continuously working with officials from agriculture and horticulture departments of Leh and Ladakh districts, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu, DIHAR, and entrepreneurs for comprehensive development of agriculture in Ladakh," the commerce ministry said.