On the Kashmiri Apple

On the Kashmiri Apple
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The first harvest of high density apple plantation scheme was inaugurated at the Sher e Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST). This is a welcome development. Apparently, the quality of the apples is good and the production volumes are high. But, there are issues that appear to have been elided. The major one of these is that the new high density apple plantation appears to focus more intensely on the supply side of the issue; the demand said appears to be ignored or underemphasized. Before elaborating on this point further, a digression might be called for here and the nature of the Kashmiri apple in times of yore and actual brand Kashmir be put into perspective. The Kashmiri apple of the past was one which was synonymous with great, refreshing and luscious taste. Its color would be a clear and accurate indication of taste. By contrast, if any kind of apples from developed countries, including the export variety, would be compared with its Kashmiri kind, the latter would win any day. The beautifully, refreshing taste of the Kashmiri apple and its appeal was complemented by brand Kashmir , which was associated with pristine beauty, verdant pastures and meadows, sparkling clean springs, rivers, lakes, majestic mountains and lush forests. Both, the Kashmiri apple and brand( and actual) Kashmir have suffered a regression. This cannot be a mere coincidence; the regression of either has taken place because of poor policies, misuse and even abuse of our existing resources and endowments by people, among other things. Having said this, there is some saving grace(potential) as both Kashmir and its beauty and its endowments( produce like apples) can be salvaged. In this sense, given structural constraints and other factors, the high density apple scheme is a good idea and practice. But, to revert to the initial argument, the focus of the scheme must be more expansive. Here the demand side becomes imperative. The policy focus should not be on merely flooding the market with apples, that is, create a supply glut. Rather, the focus should also be on generating demand for Kashmir apples. This obviously has many prongs but two stand out: one is that the product( or produce) must be so good that it need not be artificially propped up. The second is to create and develop a marketing program around the Kashmiri apple that not only highlights it but also differentiates it from other varieties and places. Key then is branding. It is on this that the focus besides increasing production should be on.

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