While the craze of Himalayan apples ensues throughout the entire country, we know very little about the real struggles hidden behind the practice. Currently the mountain ecosystem is highly vulnerable as a result of climate change. The mountain communities, especially those mainly dependent on animal husbandry, marginal agriculture and horticulture products are facing extreme difficulties in pursuing their livelihood.
Apple is one of the cash crops of Himachal Pradesh that supports more than three lakh families in the state. Capturing their struggles, a documentary film, ‘Shift & Switch: Apple Farming In The Times Of Climate Change In Indian Himalayas’, has tried to showcase the impact in apple farming in the Himalayan region. The project has also documented the process of the crop goes through on the market and the challenges faced by farmers.
The impact of human activity, change in land use and the burning of fossil fuels have modified the snow and rain patterns. Combined with a disproportionate rise in temperature, the climate crisis has posed dangerous implications on the livelihood of apple farmers. The documentary investigates the issue with empathy by directly interacting with the impacted communities. It also sheds light on the result of man made creations such as dams in the region as well.
The threat to the future of our apple sector is alarming, as the poor quality yield is not just a failure of Himachal but rather of the country as a whole. The documentary, that is going to be screened at COP27 in Egypt as well, is a wake up call for individuals to reconsider parameters such as human activity and land use. Highlighting the perils of this gradual shift, the film is a first step in the right direction.
You can catch the documentary below.