This will open up opportunities for exports of temperate fruits like plums, pears, apricot and apples

The first commercial shipment of Mishri variety of cherries from Kashmir Valley has been exported to Dubai from Srinagar, in a step towards boosting the export of horticultural crops from the region.

The export comes after a sample consignment of the luscious cherries sent to Dubai in June last year received an encouraging response from the consumers, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Tuesday.

The commencement of commercial shipment of cherries would provide huge opportunities for exports of several temperate fruits like plums, pears, apricot and apples from Kashmir to other countries, especially in the Middle East, in the forthcoming seasons.

The Mishri variety of cherries from Jammu & Kashmir not only taste delicious but also contain vitamins, minerals and plant compounds with health benefits.

It is worth noting that Jammu & Kashmir produces more than 95% of the total country’s production of commercial varieties of cherries in the country. It produces four varieties of cherry — Double, Makhmali, Mishri and Italy.

According to the ministry, the export of the consignment by MS Desai Agri-Food Private Limited, a venture company of MS Innoterra, Dubai, was assisted by APEDA.

Prior to the shipment, the cherries were harvested, cleaned and packed by APEDA registered exporter while the technical inputs were provided by the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology of Kashmir.

APEDA-National Referral Laboratory at National Research Centre for Grapes, Pune provided support for ensuring food safety and quality in the shipment, which would help create brand for cherries especially in the middle east countries.

Listing the steps being taken to ensure the export of temperate fruits from the region, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry pointed out that several rounds of virtual awareness creation programme were being conducted. These involve the local producers, suppliers, FPOs and exporters from Kashmir.

For ensuring exports of quality agricultural produce which adhere to global standards, APEDA has also initiated awareness programme on National Programme on Organic Production and ISO-17065 requirements for the officials of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The purpose is to acquaint officials with the third-party certification system for organic products as well as international trade of organic products, the ministry said.