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New Delhi : The first consignment of Kashmiri walnuts was recently flagged off from Budgam. A truck carrying 2,000 kg was despatched to Bengaluru, Karnataka, under the One District, One Product (ODOP) initiative of Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

Kashmir accounts for 90% of India’s walnut production. With their superior quality and taste, the Kashmiri walnuts are a great source of nutrients and hence widely in demand across the globe. There is immense potential for this product to make its place in the local and global markets.

The successful facilitation of trade was marked by a flag off by Additional Secretary,  Sumita Dawra, DPIIT, on September 26, 2021, that was organised in collaboration with the Jammu and Kashmir Trade Promotion Organisation (JKTPO). Ranjan Prakash Thakur, Principal Secretary to Govt. Industries and Commerce, J&K, Tazayun Mukhtar, Director, Industries, Kashmir, Khalida, Deputy Director, Horticulture, Kashmir, Ankita Kar, MD, JKTPO, and Invest India Team, were present.

Recognizing that walnuts were being imported into India on a largescale despite the availability of Kashmir walnuts, the ‘ODOP’ team began an in-depth market analysis and stakeholder consultations in Kashmir. Further, importers of walnuts in India were contacted and through dedicated handholding at both ends, the ODOP team was able to facilitate the procurement. Such efforts also give a boost to the AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign as, for instance, in this case the Bangalore-based importer, who was previously sourcing walnuts from the US, is now able to distribute quality walnuts at a fraction of the import cost, according to a PIB release.

On the sidelines of the flag off event, a roundtable conference was organised at Budgam wherein inputs were sought from industry representatives. Regional Director PHDCCI, Iqbal Fayaz Jan, Baldev Singh, Himayun Wani, Bilal Ahmad Kawoosa, President KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq, Farooq Amin, and President FCIK, Shahid Kamili, shared their insights and experiences with respect to the trade and export ecosystem in Kashmir.

Horticulturists and trade representatives recommended the way forward including domestic and international marketing through Buyer-Seller Meets, e-commerce onboarding of more agricultural and handicraft/handloom products as well as creating product/scheme awareness for products from each district which will be supported by the ODOP initiative under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.