After getting a bumper crop of walnuts in Udhampur’s Panchari area, farmers now seek help from the Jammu and Kashmir administration in marketing the produce which has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Angrez Singh, a farmer from Upper Meer area told ANI, “Almost 70 per cent of the farmers have been growing organic walnuts here. Owing to COVID-19, there are no buyers and we have been storing our produce. Earlier, walnuts were sold at Rs 200-Rs 250 per kg but now we do not have buyers who could pay even Rs 100 per kg for these walnuts.”
Angrez said, “There are nearly 6,000 families who have grown and stored an estimated 50 kgs of walnuts each. We request the administration to help us in selling these walnuts during the time of crisis.”
Dilbir Singh, another farmer, said, “I have been working in the fields for the past 30 years. People have recently started growing walnuts with the help of fertilizers.”
“We urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to allow some private company to buy our produce as we have grown and stocked walnuts in a large quantity,” Dilbir said.
“I would also urge all youngsters to get involved in farming and take a step to become Atma Nirbhar (self-reliant),” he added.
Pritam Singh, a local resident, said, “The Jammu and Kashmir administration has paid attention to Kashmir as a result of which, the area has a good variety of walnut. In the past 2-4 years, the horticulture department has helped people by providing good quality walnuts which are naturally grown.”
“Farmers growing walnuts are earning well. But owing to COVID-19, their sales have been impacted,” said Pritam.
“I would also urge the department to provide more high density crops. Then good quality walnuts can be grown in a shorter duration,” he added.