Traders begin importing walnuts from Chile and USA. The abrogation of Article 370 disrupted the communication between sellers of walnuts in Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir meets over 90% of the country’s walnut demand. The abolition of Article 370 in the valley disrupted the internet services and disturbed the communication among buyers and sellers. The production of walnut is approximately 30% lesser than previous year. Walnuts production for 2019 estimated at 16,000 tonnes and 23,000 tonnes for 2018. The demand remains high but supply has fallen by one-third. Jammu and Kashmir produced around 30,000 to 35,000 walnuts every year. India exported 1874.87 metric tonnes in 2018-19.
Experts predict a drop in walnuts import due to high import duties from the US (132%) and Chile (110%). However, walnut imports to India will not decrease due to high demand in India. India imported 6,500 tonnes of walnuts in 2018 as compared to 8,000 tonnes this year from April to October. Moreover, the low import duty of 33% on the walnut kernel resulted in an increase in imports from 250 tonnes to 1500 tonnes in 2019. Similarly, apple imports have also started from the US and European countries.
Boom for US Traders
US traders have benefited from this situation as they have regained the exports of India. They feared the end of exports because of retaliatory tariffs imposed by India on around 28 products. This was because of the US’s decision of withdrawing India’s benefits under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) program.
Though the central government announced to see the procurement of saffron, peaches, and walnuts of Kashmir with the help of NABARD, the walnut procurement did not seem successful. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister said that the NABARD will be directed to understand problems and provide a solution for the farmers of the valley.
In all, the government needs to come up with remedial policy measures for the Kashmir trade and prevent the same in the future.