A pictorial journey of the hard work that goes in producing your favourite Kashmiri Walnut kernels.
Jammu and Kashmir is the major walnut producing region with production of around 2.66 lakh metric tonnes. The Kashmiri walnut industry contributes about 98 per cent of the total walnut exports from India to other countries. This is the harvesting season for walnuts in Kashmir, the major activity happening with greater participation of people after the two consecutive lockdowns for past one year. The harvesting is done in the months of September and October.
These days people associated with this industry are eyeing the economic returns in near future as they have been without work for a prolonged period of time. With the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year, there have been less business activities firstly due to the fallout of abrogation and lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nowadays, people are plucking and preparing the walnuts to export in the upcoming months. This process involves the plucking of walnuts with the beating of branches of the trees with long sticks, then these are stored for some time, so that the husk ripens and becomes easily detachable.
The outer layer of the Kashmiri Walnut is then detached mostly by the women folk and the nuts are being washed in nearby streams or water bodies. The walnuts are then kept to dry under the open sky for several days and the final product is ready to send to the markets. Many people sell the only kernel by breaking its rind before exporting to the market.
Let us take a look at the hard work that goes in harvesting your favourite Kashmiri Walnuts.
1.While the majority of the population Kashmir is associated with the apple industry, walnuts are also traded on a large scale throughout Jammu and Kashmir.
2. Walnuts are mostly grown in upper Kashmir.
3. The Kashmiri walnuts ripen fully by the end of September.
4. The walnut industry not only benefits the economy of Jammu and Kashmir but also provides employment to a large section of the population.
5. With the increase in production of walnuts in Jammu and Kashmir, it is now sold in the country as well as in international markets.
6. However, industry insiders say the downturn in local markets over the years has affected the business.
7. Due to the downturn in the market, the price of walnuts in the local and domestic markets has come down significantly.
8. Mohd Ramzan arranging the walnuts on ground in open air and sunny area to dry.
9. Walnuts are kept under the hot sun to dry in a meadow in village Hapatnar of South Kashmir.
10. A farmer namely Nazir Ahmad detaching the husk from walnuts in Hapatnar village of South Kashmir.
11. The owner puts up the makeshift tent to keep look after the harvest as the produce remains vulnerable to thieves.
Dil-Paziir (Urdu; meaning ‘heart-pleasing’) is a special edition positive news series brought to you by Digpu, sourced from conflict areas starting from Kashmir. Our local journalists have successfully shared many inspirational stories from the valley – from the invention of E-Charkha, automatic ventilator in Kashmir, stories of brotherhood through to the first-ever cricket tourney for Blind sportsmen, all the stories make us awe-struck. These are NOT FOR REPRODUCTION.