Networking to achieve success
Kashmir’s economy is unique in nature. It can survive the vagaries of external pressures as it is largely dependent on the regions local production which includes agricultural produce and the handicrafts sector.
However, the two sectors have been ignored and have not been able to take shape in the form of co-operatives so that the benefit could have percolated to the lowest level and ensured that no major loses are suffered by the people involved in these sectors.
One such measure that could have done wonders is the setting up of vibrant co-operatives. Co-operatives can have far reaching impact as they can provide answers to specific needs of underdeveloped areas like that of Kashmir. But the co-operative movement needs support from the development community to reach its potential.
There is strength in numbers and the co-op movement’s founding principles can benefit developmental work. The success of co-op movement in many parts of the globe remind us that co-operatives are much more than our local shop, or a troubled bank.
Co-operatives are a dynamic people centered business model operating successfully in more than 100 countries. Co-operatives come in all shapes and sizes and all sectors of the economy.
In developing countries 75% of Fair trade products are from farmers’ co-operatives. In the 1950s and 60s, co-operatives, particularly in Africa, were seen as major players in development, loaded down with expectations, as well as government interference. As a result, many failed, and co-operatives were written off by most development agencies.
In recent decades, co-operatives have made a comeback. We know that co-operatives can and do make major contributions to millennium development goals. They can generate income for their members and also offer a range of benefits – depending on why they are set up.
The role of co-op movement getting secured recognition forced the world body, United Nations to announce 2016 as the year of UN International Year of Co-operatives. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation sees co-operatives as key to feeding the world; the International Labour Organisation as a way of organising in the informal economy.
However, the co-op movement has not been able to make its presence in Jammu and Kashmir. The co-operative movement can be easily termed as a failure in this part of the world. One reason can be attributed to the unrelenting interference by the previous political leadership and the fallout is there for everyone to observe.
The movement that could have acted as a backbone for our economy and ensuring rural livelihoods has failed to even pick up rather than scripting success stories.
Though co-operative movement could have proven to be a success story in this part of the world owing to massive participation of the people on the social media platforms. Connecting to social media could have brought the people together and kept them tied together for a greater cause of achieving success.