While the problem of duty free Iranian apples in the Indian market is still ongoing, Kashmiri walnut growers now fear they may lose their margins to imported walnuts from the US, Chile and especially China.
The market flooding of these imported walnuts has created concerns at a time when the growers are harvesting their crops.
According to Bahadur Khan, President of the Dry Fruit Association of Kashmir, even if the federal government has levied import duty on shipments from Chile and other countries, Kashmiri walnuts are still being outclassed.
“Five years ago we used to send over a 1,000 trucks of walnuts from the Valley. However, this year we have sent only 500-600 trucks to different parts of the country,” Khan said. It seems that the quality of imported walnuts is a major reason for a lower demand for Kashmiri walnuts in the markets.
Government figures suggest the production of these walnuts is decreasing every year. In 2017-18, 275,000 tons of walnuts were exported from Kashmir. In 2018-19, 278,000 tons were exported. These numbers dropped to 226,000 tons in 2019-2020, 258,000 tons in 2020-2021 and 267,000 tons in 2021-2022.