From Skirmishes to Prosperity

From Skirmishes to Prosperity

Ceasefire Boosts Uri’s Walnut Business

Suhail Khan

URI-BARAMULLA, Dec 5: The ceasefire between India and Pakistan that would otherwise impact the border town of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district the most, has brought about positive changes in the lives of its residents, particularly giving a flip to the walnut business in the region.

The calm along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has completed two years, marking a rare period of peace between the two countries. This ceasefire has enabled locals to freely access their walnut fields, leading to high hopes for a successful harvest and increased profits.

Irshad Ahmad told Kashmir Despatch that there has been a peaceful environment in our border town for the past two years, resulting in good business with walnuts since the ceasefire agreement between the two nations.

He stated that the hilly terrains along the LoC in Uri make it an ideal location for walnut cultivation, which serves as a major source of income for the locals.

Irshad said that the walnut traders this year are very optimistic about a fruitful business.

Shabir Ahmad Qazi, a walnut trader from Batagarh village, in an conversation with this Newspaper expressed hope for a bountiful harvest and increased earnings due to the continued truce while talking to Kashmir Despatch.

However, he did mention that some traders in the Uri market are concerned about the absence of an administrative mechanism to regulate prices.

Qazi emphasized the need for a monitoring body to ensure fair pricing, allowing the locals to earn a decent livelihood after facing several challenging years.

Haji Showkat Ahmad, another walnut trader at Lagama Uri, highlighted the positive impact of the ceasefire on the walnut market. Villages along the LoC, such as Tilawari, Nambla, Hathlanga, Soura, Thajal, Gawalta, and Gowhalan, are contributing significantly to the walnut supplies in Uri.

Despite the booming walnut business in the region, traders in the historic Lagama market in Kashmir are facing challenges. The market, known for selling the best walnut kernels in India, has been witnessing a decline in prices and demand, causing concern among vendors.

Mohammad Ashraf Chalkoo, a walnut seller in Lagama, expressed dissatisfaction with the falling rates, weak demand, and lack of government attention. Traders fear the potential closure of the historic market if the decline continues.

Currently, the price for one kilogram of walnut kernel in Lagama is Rs 900–1000, down from the previous rate of Rs 1400 per kilogram. The traders are calling for intervention from the Union Territory administration to prevent the closure of the market.

They also raised concerns about the central government’s import of walnut kernels from countries like Afghanistan, China, Chile, and California, which negatively impact the local walnut industry.

The traders urged UT Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and the horticulture department to address the situation and take necessary actions to stabilize the walnut business.

The Lagama market is home to around 70 local vendors and 34 wholesalers, offering a variety of walnut kernels. The traders emphasized the importance of supporting the local market over international imports to sustain their livelihoods.

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