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India: Chestnuts rule market as costliest dry fruit

Gone are the days when cashew nuts and almond were known as kings in dry fruit markets.

Now in the pricelists of the dry fruits shops, chestnuts are mentioned as costliest not due to festival season or recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir but courtesy people, who follow the advice of Yoga gurus, Ayurvedacharyas and medical practitioners.

A dealer of dry fruits at Gola Dinanath Mandi said: "We are in this trade for generations but in past two-three years, a surprising trend has emerged as chestnuts, which were consumed mainly in winters, are now being sold round the year. Arthritis patients consume chestnuts on the advice of Yoga gurus and medical practitioners. It has resulted in shooting up of per kg price of chestnuts from Rs 1300 in the wholesale market to Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,200.

But, this change in consumption of chestnuts has diverted those buyers, who gift dry fruits during festivals like Diwali. Apricot had become its substitute to maintain the look of the gift packs, another wholesaler mentioned. It had reduced the price of gift packs by 50%. The markets of Gola Dinanath caters to demand of markets falling in a radius of 400 kms. General secretary of Kashi Kirana Vyapar Mandal Anil Keshari said that there are 126 wholesalers.

According to these traders, on an average per day trade of dry fruits remains above Rs 2.5 million in volume. "The boom in this trade begins from sixth or seventh day of Shardiya Navratra and continues till Diwali. In comparison to normal days, the trading of dry fruits rises to five times per day in this period," a trader said. The market revealed that major fluctuation in the prices of dry fruits like coconut, makhana, cashew and pistachio had been noticed four months back but now it is stagnant and there is no indication for further rise.

Traders consider that the rise in trend noticed in the price of almond has started changing now. The monsoon season when moisture damages many dry fruits is over now and the arrival of fresh dry fruits will also start in the market, which can bring the prices down in coming days. Indian raisin is losing attention because better quality Afghan raisin is available at cheaper cost despite import duty.


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