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LG directs for over three-fold increase in sea buckthorn harvest in Ladakh

LEH: Ladakh Lt Governor R K Mathur on Wednesday asked officials to explore ways and means to increase the production of sea buckthorn, a berry plant said to be having many medicinal values and prevalent in the Union Territory.

Maintaining that sea buckthorn is a potential large GDP contributor and a means of employment generation, LG Mathur asked officials to try to achieve an over three-fold increase in the production of the medicinal shrub, a government statement said.

Setting an ambitious target to increase the sea buckthorn harvest to 2,000 metric tons against the present harvest quantity of 600 MT, Mathur stressed upon the need to form a regulatory framework to standardize the procedure for the management of the plant's products.

As per an international medical and health portal WebMD, sea buckthorn is a shrub native to China and Russia and contains many medicinal compounds and nutrients, including vitamins, amino acidsfatty acids, minerals with its leaves, flowers, seeds and berries being used for a wide variety of health issues.

"The latest and reliable statistics need to be acquired through scientific means to figure out the present availability and growth potential of sea buckthorn in Ladakh," the LG said, asking the concerned departments to gather present land area under plantation, present harvesting data and potential new areas.

Mathur also asked the departments to procure world-class machinery for harvesting, processing and packaging to achieve international standards while also investing in expert scientific assistance.

The spokesperson said the horticulture department was directed to utilize around one hectare of land to initiate a model sea buckthorn plantation and set up a testing lab for Sea Buckthorn Research and Development.

The Lt Governor also directed the forest department to impart training to local youths on the standard process of plantation, harvesting, drying and storage of the product and stated that efforts should be to maximize employment generation in the complete value chain viz plantation, harvesting, processing products and their marketing.

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