As the Indian festive season nears, walnut traders are buying more of the dry fruit from the US and Chile to tide over the delay in arrivals from the Kashmir valley. Over 90% of the country's walnut production comes from Kashmir. According to traders, the average price of walnut kernel in the wholesale market of Jammu mandi has increased by 35% in the last one month due to the uncertainty over arrivals.
Harvest of the dry fruit, which begins from end of August, has been delayed by a fortnight, they said. This could mean traders may not be able to stock up to meet festive-season demand, which picks up with the onset of the Navratras in the last week of September.
"Supply from the valley has been delayed and yet to begin. Further, there is no LoC trade, which has impacted supplies. Hence, to ensure that consumers get supplies, importers have now booked additional orders for walnuts from USA and Chile," said Praveen Gupta, president of Jammu Fruit Association.
Higher import duties at 132% for US walnuts and 110% for Chile walnuts is also being seen as a challenge, said importers who expect orders from the US to be delayed and reach by December.
According to traders and processors, supplies of walnut from Kupwara and Uri through the road route should have arrived at Jammu mandi by now. However, it has just started trickling in, Gunjan Jain, managing director of VKC Nuts, India's largest walnut processor and exporter, told economictimes.indiatimes.com.
Apple prices likely to double in Delhi
Also because if the severe disruption in the supply chain from Kashmir, apple prices are likely to double in Delhi’s retail market in a month’s time. Apples from Kashmir start coming to New Delhi in the last week of August. But the security clampdown, including restrictions on communication and transport, imposed in Kashmir since 5 August — when the Centre announced the scrapping of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir — have completely skewed the supply of the Valley’s famed apples.