New Lease of Life

New Lease of Life

Kashmiri apples, apparently, have nowhere to go on account of the highway remaining frequently closed. The issue is more poignant and salient with respect to apples in cold storage which were supposed to cater to off season demand. But, on account of the highway remaining inaccessible on account of inclement weather and other assorted reasons, cold storage apples face an uncertain future. These are either restored in cold storages or sold at bargain prices in the local markets. The issue of the cold storage apples is wider and broader than mere storage; it is and needs to be viewed and seen holistically. That is, a silo based approach cannot and should not be adopted. If the idea of cold storage was to enhance the longevity of fruit, especially, apples in Kashmir, then the idea , as a standalone basis would never succeed or, in the least, would work only upto a point. For the concept and the practice to work efficiently and effectively, the backward and forward linkages of the fruit market must be and need to be understood. Second, after a thorough understanding of these linkages, what needs to be taken into account is that it is only a holistic and integrated approach to the overall concept and practice that will crystallize dividends and yield fruit, so to speak. The reference here is to an ecosystem that is supportive and where allied support is accorded to the value chain. Broken down, this means that it is not merely or per se a cold storage that is enough and will suffice; it is rather access, connectivity, allied linkages, seamless access to markets and distribution that are equally important in the entire value chain. The cold storage concept, as a standalone one is a concept that will not only have diminishing returns but not yield the maximum potential thereby throwing the whole business and its practitioners into disarray. The need of the hour then is to revisit the concept and develop the necessary accoutrements and allied infrastructure to actually not only cannibalize the potential of cold storage of fruit in Kashmir but to derive and extract maximum benefits for it. A holistic and integrated approach is the sine qua non of this. Let a new approach be given thought and applied in practice so that extant cold storage owners and those who store their produce there be given a reprieve and the whole concept be given a new lease of life.