The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has begun a few initiatives to popularise some of the exclusive agricultural products from the union territories of Jammu, Kashmir and Lakadh such as the fragrant rice variety Mushkbudji, Acacia honey and Kashmir valley apples.
Already, commercial shipments of Ladakh Halman apricots from Leh to Dubai have begun for the first time during August-September, with the exports being handled by local entrepreneurs from Kargil.
A press release from the Commerce Ministry, under which APEDA functions, said samples of Mushkbudji rice and Acacia honey were sent in August to Dubai, Oman and other West Asian markets. Samples of apples produced in the Kashmir valley have also been sent to the same markets.
Regular supplies of this produce to West Asia will begin once the export value chain is established, it said.
APEDA, which has the mandate to promote agricultural exports from the three union territories, has also taken the initiative to sensitise growers, exporters, government officials and other stakeholders on requirements under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). This is crucial for exports to pick up.
This has resulted in Kashmir Saffron, a GI tag product, being shipped to Dubai and other West Asia markets during March-April this year and the Mishri variety of Kashmir valley cherries to Dubai during June-July. The cherries are getting repeat export orders, the release said.
Besides, product samples of seabuckthorn such as juice, pulp, concentrate, oil and herbal fusion tea were provided to Indian corporate food producers for development of products for the domestic and overseas markets last month. The products may take some time to launch in the international food market, the release said.
APEDA sensitised officials of seed certification, the Directorate of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) of Srinagar and Jammu Regions for their convergence into the Organic Certification Agency under NPOP during July 2021.
The authority signed memorandums of understanding with Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and Jammu & Kashmir Trade Promotion Organisation (JKTPO) for technical support and promotional activities, for enhancing productivity and promotion of potential products from the region.
The release said considering the potential and forthcoming need of export infrastructure for the region, APEDA took up the issue of comprehensive export logistics requirements for the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Central Warehousing Corporation and other concerned departments in July 2021 for creation of customs clearance facility, smooth X-ray and handling of perishable commodities and issuance of Phytosanitary Certification facility at Jammu, Srinagar and Leh airports.
APEDA also organised virtual buyer-seller meets in Jammu and Kashmir regions to generate business enquiries and 34 stakeholders from Kashmir and 25 stakeholders from Jammu participated in the meet.
APEDA has also developed and provided a draft Agri Export Plan for the Kashmir valley and Jammu division, besides identifying potential export products such as apple, cherry, walnut, honey, saffron, rice and gucchi.
The union territory of Ladakh is in the process of developing an agri export plan covering potential export products such as seabuckthorn and apricots.
APEDA planned a stakeholders’ consultation involving start-ups, entrepreneurs, cooperatives, FPOs, FPCs, UT officials, concerned officials from the agriculture university, KVKs, ICAR institutions to augment export of potential products from the UT of Jammu and Kashmir during September 2021, the release said.
APEDA also co-organised a Vanijya Utsav in Leh during September 21-22, where discussions on linking products from the union territory to the international market were held with the stakeholders, the release added.