Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said that Sea buckthorns widely known as “Leh Berry”, an exclusive food product of the cold desert, will provide employment opportunities to the youth of Ladakh.
In his meeting with Lt Governor R.K. Mathur, Singh said, the Leh Berry is also very useful for armed force personnel deployed at a very high altitude due to its antioxidant properties.
The value addition of this agricultural product has the potential to revolutionize the economic condition of the newly created Union Territory, he said.
The Minister said that reference to its medicinal properties is also being found in the Tibetan literature of the 8th century AD. Sea buckthorn products like jams, juices, herbal tea, vitamin C supplements, healthy drinks, creams, oils, and soaps will provide employment opportunities to the local youth, Singh said.
He said this immunity-boosting natural berry is getting increasingly popularized not only in India but also in great demand in foreign countries for its medicinal value.
The Minister informed that the ancient local Ladakhi amchi medicine system also places a very high premium on the sea buckthorn berry and its curative properties.
The Minister informed the LG that CSIR, in collaboration with the UT Govt of Ladakh, will start commercial cultivation of sea buckthorn berry from the coming spring season in Ladakh.
He said, CSIR will also develop harvesting machinery to be used by local farmers and self-help groups, as currently only 10 per cent of berry is being extracted from the wild sea buckthorn plant.
Singh told Mathur that a high-level team of senior scientists from CSIR will soon visit Ladakh to evaluate the Zinc Fortification project for Pashmina Goats, Sheep, and Yak as Ladakh is mainly an Animal-based economy.
He said CSIR is contemplating starting a Geo-Thermal Energy Project for warming and cooling systems in a zero-net energy programme by linking it with solar power.