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An ‘A’ for apricots

There’s nothing quite like apricots. A multitasking fruit that can be eaten fresh, cooked or preserved, apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A and iron, and are high in natural sugar.

In Ladakh, the apricot is believed to have been introduced more than 100 years ago from China or Central Asia. Known locally as chuli, apricots are widely cultivated in different areas of Ladakh and have become, as a result, a commercially crucial fruit crop and an integral part of the food culture of the region.

The local affinity with the fruit has been the big reason spurring the ‘apricot value-chain development’ programme introduced in 2018 by Himmotthan Society, an associate organisation of the Tata Trusts.

Sonam Yangdol of Takmachik village in Leh district harvests her apricots
Sonam Yangdol of Takmachik village in Leh district harvests her apricots
Dried apricots being sorted and graded by a farmer group in Takmachik
Dried apricots being sorted and graded by a farmer group in Takmachik
Apricots being dried in a solar dryer
Apricots being dried in a solar dryer
A farmer collects dried apricots
A farmer collects dried apricots
The packaged product goes by the brand name Julley Ladakh. The Himmotthan team has strived to boost the incomes of the apricot farmers through a package of good practices aimed at improving quality and reducing wastage
The packaged product goes by the brand name Julley Ladakh. The Himmotthan team has strived to boost the incomes of apricot farmers through a package of good practices aimed at improving quality and reducing wastage
Rinchen Yangzes from Takmachik village drying apricots
Rinchen Yangzes from Takmachik village drying apricots
Solar dryers — a version of which is seen above, are widely used to dry the apricots
Solar dryers — a version of which is seen above, are widely used to dry the apricots
Tashi Namgail (above left), who heads the Sham Valley Apricot Producer Cooperative, with a local farmer at the Chuli Mentok Apricot Festival of 2022. Organised by Ladakh’s tourism department, the festival takes place in spring and is a big draw with visitors)
Tashi Namgail (above left), who heads the Sham Valley Apricot Producer Cooperative, with a local farmer at the Chuli Mentok Apricot Festival of 2022. Organised by Ladakh’s tourism department, the festival takes place in spring and is a big draw with visitors
 Tsewang Namgial, a farmer from Lasthang village in Sham Valley, spraying foliar fertiliser on his apricot trees
Tsewang Namgial, a farmer from Lasthang village in Sham Valley, spraying foliar fertiliser on his apricot trees
A stall at the Chuli Mentok Apricot Festival held in April 2022
A stall at the Chuli Mentok Apricot Festival held in April 2022
The apricot flower, which is slightly fragrant and is pollinated by insects
The apricot flower is both beautiful and slightly fragrant
Dried apricots contain potassium and antioxidants and are known to lower cholesterol and improve digestion
Dried apricots contain potassium and antioxidants, and are known to lower cholesterol and improve digestion