Why the sweet smell of success eludes Ladakhi apricot growers

While scientists have discovered the sweetest apricot variety in Ladakh's rugged terrains, farmers are not quite keen on producing it | All photos by Safeena Wani

In the rugged terrains of Kargil, where a memorial of the 1999 India-Pakistan war is still attracting shrilled patriotic tourists, Dr Tresing Stobdan is silently rebranding the native delicacy—the apricot.

A senior scientist at the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), Dr Stobdan has extensively studied the Raktsey Karpo, the sweetest apricot in the world and a unique variety found at an altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level.

“Raktsey Karpo’s white seed coat makes it unique to Ladakh. The fruit’s TSS (Total Soluble Solids) at 37.9º Brix (°Brix is a measure of fruit maturity) is the highest reported across the world in the fresh apricots category. This TSS has not been reported in any fresh apricot anywhere else in the world,” he says enthusiastically.

Dr Stobdan has applied for GI tag for the fruit and hopes that local growers will be able to boost production and get good money in the international market.

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