According to Economic Times report, In a bid to bring in investment and jobs to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh, the food processing ministry plans to hold road shows and summits in the two new Union territories. It will also look at ways to ramp up food processing and agriculture activities in the two UTs.
“Ladakh and J&K are endowed with high quality fruits and vegetables. We are looking at sustainable development of the region and hence exploring opportunities to strengthen the infrastructure, encourage entrepreneurs from the region and help food processing units with various central schemes,” said Reema Prakash, joint secretary at ministry of food processing industries.
Currently, there are nearly 50 processing units in J&K and Ladakh and a mega food park in J&K. “We have identified clusters of apples, walnuts, sea buckthorn, saffron and apricots. Simultaneously our efforts are to reach out to UT officials and entrepreneurs from the region and depending on the proposals and viability, we will set up more food parks and support infrastructure,” said Prakash.
“Many Indian and foreign companies have shown interest in procuring fruits and vegetables from the region and we have been connecting them to self-help groups, entrepreneurs and cooperatives in the region,” she said.
The LuLu Group from the UAE has started procuring apples, saffron and walnuts from J&K for their national as well as international market, she said.
Ministry officials said the government officials, farmers, SHGs and farmers producers’ organisations were enthusiastic about the various opportunities that the food processing sector would bring to the region.
In its first interaction with the various stakeholders, the ministry partnered with Department of Industries & Commerce, Ladakh and Invest India, the national investment promotion & facilitation agency, in Leh recently for the Ladakh Food Processing Summit.
“While the focus in on apples, walnut and cherry in J&K, we have identified other focus areas for food processing in Ladakh which includes sea buckthorn, apricots, saffron, barley and buckwheat. We are also focusing on organic products grown in the region which has a good demand in national as well as international markets,” she said.