Walnuts traders in India have started importing walnuts from the United States (US), and Chile as the domestic supply for walnuts have been disrupted.
Kashmir, which produces around 90% of walnuts that are grown in India, have been facing communication blockade since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 this year. This, in turn, has resulted in non-communication between the buyers and sellers of walnuts.
As a corollary of that, exporters in the US and Chile have started supplying walnuts to India in order to cater to the high demand of the nut from the Indian consumers.
In July, India had increased tariffs on 28 products imported from the US in retaliation to the US’s decision to withdraw the benefits that India had been receiving under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) program.
In an interview with The Economic Times, Gunjan Jain, managing director of VKC nuts, said, “High import duty of 132% on walnuts from the US and 110% for shipments from Chile will not slow down imports, as there was a huge demand in the country.”
He added, “In 2018-19, we imported 6,500 tonnes of walnuts while this year from April-October, we have imported 8,000 tonnes. We will import another 8,000 tonnes till March-end.”
In the month of September, “the arrival of walnuts reach to around 3000 kg in the first week and touch up to 30,000 – 40,000 kg by mid-September. However, the arrival has only been 300 kg in the first week,” Jain said to ET.
India produces around 30,000 to 35,000 tonne of walnut in Jammu and Kashmir, says PTI. In 2018-19, India exported around 1874.87 metric tonnes to the world.
The Logical Indian Take
Amidst the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir, it’s evident that producers and distributors of walnuts have been severely hit. The government’s policy of keeping the internet suspended has disrupted the business activity of the agriculturists in Kashmir. It’s pertinent that the government acknowledges the fallouts of its current Kashmir policy and act on remedying it forthwith.