The Kashmir almond industry is on the decline. The main cause of this are the low temperatures and unfavorable weather conditions that are frequent during bloom. Local farmers say that another cause is competition with more remunerative apple crops. Almond growers are unable to sell their produce as the Valley lacks a centralized dry fruit market.
In the 1990s, more than 20,000 hectares of land was under almond cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir. But, as per official figures almond cultivation has declined to little more than 5,000 hectares. Director Horticulture Kashmir, Ghulam Rasool Mir said the current area under almond production is 5,411 hectares spread across Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal Kulgam, Kupwara, Pulwama, Shopian and Srinagar.
“The main causes of decline of almond production are low temperatures and other unfavourable weather conditions (rain, wind) that are frequent during bloom which considerably reduce fruit set and subsequently the almond production. Non-availability of frost-resistant and late bloom varieties of almond is also a cause. Inclement weather during bloom is one the important reason for decline of almond production in Kashmir,” he said.