LoC trade standoff deprives Kashmiris of Pak kinnows

SRINAGAR: The standoff on cross-LoC trade over drug haul has sedated the supply of rich vitamin C source, kinnows to this part of Kashmir.
This citrus fruit sourced from Pakistani Punjab had gained high acceptability in Kashmir and was among the top bartering commodities across LoC. But now fresh fruit traders are again looking towards Indian Punjab for meeting the demand.
However, they say Kinnows from Pakistan were preferred here as the fruit would have better quality and prices would be reasonable as compared to Indian kinnows.
“Kinnows from Pakistan had a better taste and size than the Indian ones though both packing and looks of Indian ones are more attractive,” Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, one of the veteran in fruit trade at the Parimpora Fruit Mandi here, told Kashmri Reader.
Bhat said with cross-LoC trade developing during the recent years, Kinnows from Pakistan had gained a sound market in the Valley with his mandi too receiving the bulk of this fruit.
According to the officials at the, Horticulture Planning and Marketing Department at the Parimpora Mandi in December, 1782 MT of Kinnows where received at the mandi via Cross LoC trade, while in November it was 738 MT.
Among the citrus fruits, Kinnow imports have been more than Oranges in December with kinnows being 818 MT more than oranges. Oranges are mostly sources from Maharashtra.
The demand for the citrus fruits increases in winters here with kinnow toping the list of imported fruits as well as vegetables in the Valley.
The market according to traders remains live till March when the supplies start to dwindle both from across the LoC and Punjab.
Traders say that oranges are mostly imported from the State of Maharashtra and Kinnows do provide a stiff competition, though the present supplies will now be sourced from India till the cross-LOC trade here normalizes again.
In India districts of Punjab including Abhor and its neghbouring district Sirganganagar from Rajasthan are the leading producers of Kinnows and they are also called Aboharvi ‘santras’.
Majid Shabbir,Secretary General of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan informed via email that Kinnow is a unique hybrid of two varieties of California oranges having a soft skin which is easy to peel with a lovely fragrance. The harvest in Pakistan starts from December and last till April with Punjab and Baluchistan growing the bulk of it.
“The kinnow is very delicious in taste and if waxed properly and careful stored can retain their freshness for more than two months,” Shabir said.
The kinnow is a variety of citrus fruit cultivated extensively in Punjab region since 1940, Punjab Agriculture College and Research Institute, Faisalabad, Pakistan, introduced the kinnow that is a major fruit crop under cultivation there now.