Artisan Connect

Handloom Marketing in Rohilkhand

Date : 2011-10-29 18:04:14

Description HANDLOOM MARKETING IN ROHILKHAND By PARNIL VERMA Rohilkhand is a region of northwestern Uttar Pradesh state of India. Rohilkhand lies on the upper Ganges alluvial plain and has an area of about 25,000 km² (10,000 square miles). It is bounded by the Ganges River on the south and the west by Uttarakhand and Nepal on the north, and by the Awadh region to the east. Rohilkhand region comprises of eight districts namely - Badayun , Bareilly, Bijnore , J.P Nagar , Moradabad, Pilibhit , Rampur and Shahjahanpur. In Rohilkhand, 70 % of the rural population belong to the Muslim 'Ansaar' community i.e the Weavers' community specially in Bijnore, Moradabad, J.P Nagar and Rampur distrcts. Rohilkhand has a long and rich tradition in handlooms , having around 400 years old handloom Industry. Originally it was famous for Khes (the sturdy item used for bed linen) & Punja Durry (a kind of floor covering) made by village women during their spare time. Gradually the industry grew and products have been diversified into various handloom items like rugs, carpets, handloom durry of various sizes , chindi fabric, scrap durry, blankets and a vast variety of furnishing fabrics. Although the cultural diversity of the region has resulted in variety of products and production techniques to flourish in this area, due to lack of marketing efforts, the industry never got any proper recognition in domestic or international market and is basically a house-hold and unorganized industry. In Rohilkhand, Market for handlooms is very limited and targeted only for low and lower middle income groups. The market in Rohilkhand is five- tiered: 1. The self-consumption sector where handlooms are made for household requirements and not for sale : In some households, the male members have left handloom industry and joined powerloom sector / other occupations for better job prospects but they have looms at their home and their wives and children weave fabrics only for self-consumption. All kind of household products like bedsheets, table covers, dress materials etc. are made for self consumption. 2. The rural market where weavers do the marketing themselves in local Mandi : Most of the weavers in Rohilkhand region are producing handloom products for the rural segment market and local handloom mandis of Nahtore, Bilari, Seohara, Naugaon and Kanth. The products being sold in local mandis are low priced and poor quality Home furnishing items like Khes, Dusters, Bedsheets, Quilt covers, Durries , Aasans etc. Most of the weavers directly sell their products in these local markets by means of Pheri. Some weavers supply to other wholesalers and other retailers. 3. The distant domestic market, largely urban, which is beyond reach of weavers : The cooperative societies are provided marketing assistance from Development Commissioner (Handlooms) and State Government under various schemes and they are given opportunities to participate in fairs and exhibitions in distant urban markets to sell their products. Some independent weavers and master weavers also market their products in distant urban markets through traders and retailers. All kind of handloom products manufactured in the Rohilkhand area (from low priced khes, dusters and chindi durries to high priced Home Furnishing Fabrics and products) are sold in distant urban markets through traders, wholesalers, retailers and Direct Selling by master weavers and their salesmen. For eg : on one hand the low priced handloom products (made with recycled yarn) of district Moradabad are sold to the economically weaker sections of Almora and Nainital through door to door selling. On the other hand, high quality handloom products of Districts J.P Nagar and Bijnore are sold in various cities through the retail outlets of FABINDIA , a private sales agency. 4. Government Agencies / Hospitals : The government agencies like UPICA and U.P Handloom Corporation Ltd. used to purchase handloom products from Rohilkhand for sale in their retail outlets. It is estimated that by mid - nineties these were buying almost 20% of the output. By end of the nineties the government gradually withdrew subsidy support and the institutional purchase tapered down because of the financial crunch faced by these organizations. However, State Offices and Government Hospitals continue to purchase handloom products from weavers cooperatives. The products being sold to State offices and hospitals include Durries, Curtains, Towels, Dusters, Bed sheets, Pillow covers and Gauze Bandage Fabrics. These products are of medium quality and low to medium priced as there are no middlemen involved. Supply orders are secured by the cooperatives through government tenders and notifications placed in official gazettes. 5. Export markets : Export Markets are catered only by districts J.P Nagar and Bijnore through FABINDIA and Merchant Exporters. Although Government of India provides lot of assistance for export promotion through Handloom Export Schemes and International trade fairs but due to non- implementation of govt. policies and schemes , these benefits hardly reach the weavers and therefore direct exports from Rohilkhand is almost nil. PROBLEMS IN MARKETING : a) Limited Access to the market : The Weavers of Rohilkhand region do not have direct access to the market. They are dependent on local traders and agent of buyers who are mostly from other state like Delhi, Haryana, M.P, Maharastra and Gujrat. Hence they are not aware of the market trends and are unable to respond to the changing requirements of the market. b) Inefficient Marketing Capabilities : The weavers in Rohilkhand region have poor literacy rates and are confined to their local markets and traders. The weaver's knowledge of consumer behaviour and market trends continues to be negligible. Due to the absence of knowledge on changing markets, these weavers have inefficient marketing capabilities. c) No Direct Access to international Market : Most of the production is for domestic market. Even though there have been small export orders through merchant exporters, the weavers are never informed about the actual sale of such products, country of sale, acceptance/rejection, required documentation and procedures. Hence the weavers are not benefited in terms of information relating to exports. The Govt. sponsored Export oriented projects have not been successful to yield positive results in this matter. d) Little feedback from sales exhibitions and fairs : In the state sponsored international visits the government officials and few Coperative heads represents the handloom industry of a region and hence the actual weavers are left with little feedback on Buyers' tastes and preferences. This requires radical solution. Direct interaction between the benefactor and the beneficiary is must for revival of this industry as a potential foreign exchange earner. e) Lack of Collective Bargaining : Although 90 % of weavers in Rohilkhand belong to Ansaar Muslim community, they lack unity and collective approach. The weavers bargain with the traders on one to one basis, which causes reduction in profit margin. In a nutshell weavers lack in collective bargaining and are suffering from ill effects of mutual competition. f) Limited Product Range : Besides above, the product range is limited and products are basically village oriented. They hardly find market share of towns and cities. This is one of the most important issues raised by any one when asked about the problems of the craft. Here the role of Computer Aided Designs and creation of new range / variety of products becomes crucial. g) Absence of new Designs and Poor colour combinations : There had been very limited design development in Rohilkhand region. The weavers are still weaving traditional designs in poor colour combinations with inferior yarns. The domestic market for handloom products is also changing now. The consumer is becoming more discerning and would like to purchase handlooms on value and merit, and not solely on empathy. The role of CAD need not be emphasized again. In an era of global shrinkage unless an industry applies innovation techniques and adopts science & technology for its modernisation and improvisation, it cannot survive the cut throat competition. h) No efforts for Brand Promotion : Though the long process of making the product on handloom requires lot of human labour , skills and time even though it is surprising that no sincere efforts have been made so far to promote these products as Made up by hands. It is pertinent to mention here that looking to the huge population of the country every effort should be made to promote the products made by hands, highlighting that purchase of every unit of these products shall enable a poor artisan to purchase bread for his / her dependants. The people should themselves feel proud while using handmade products, because they are directly or indirectly helping some one to earn livelihood. These products can also be promoted by highlighting their features such as comfort, easy washing, aesthetic appeal etc. i) Competition from Power loom : Mostly the problems being faced by Rohilkhand Hand loom products are due to the power loom made products manufactured at J.P nagar and Bijnore (Nehtore city) districts of Rohilkhand and Muradnagar, Sardhana, Khekra, Pilakhuwa etc. of adjoining districts of Meerut, Ghaziabad & Baghpat flooding the markets and sidelining the genuine handloom products in terms of price, apparently good finish and attractive designs. Though various products are reserved for production on handloom only as per the Handloom Act, 1985 the efficacy of this act has never been established. The manufacturers & traders are extraordinarily clever in infringement of various provisions of the Act. j) Seasonal demand of product : Products like Khes and cotton shawl etc. have seasonal demands only. Therefore there is need to do planning of production in such a way that some new kind of products are also produced which can be sold round the year. Moreover their sale to tourists visiting hill stations of nearby Uttarakhand be attempted during tropical months. SOLUTIONS TO CREATE DEMAND FOR HANDLOOMS : As seen above, there are number of different aspects that merit attention to expand and develop the market for handloom products of Rohilkhand region. Some of the steps that can be taken are : . The industry must develop market orientation. It should respond to the changing requirements of the market. It is not possible for the ordinary weaver to study the market trend and adopt it in his production unit. A handloom research centre should be set up at the national level to undertake research on demand patterns, designs, weaving technology, raw materials and so on. . There is a need to tap more of domestic market. The view that a domestic demand for handlooms has no prospects of growth and that there should be more of export-oriented production is far from the truth. There is a large and growing domestic demand for handlooms. The potential for growth of this sector in fact lies in the simple patterned medium & heavy fabrics (of low yarn counts) rather than the complex patterned or high-count 'fine' fabrics, which are more suited to a small niche market. This is because such production draws on simple and affordable technology and does not require expensive loom attachments. Also, there is a large-scale demand in the burgeoning middle-class markets in cities and towns that can easily be tapped. . Market information about consumers' demands based on market research. The Handloom Cluster Development Schemes envisage this research but due to incompetent and corrupt Cluster Development Executives of Rohilkhand region, the market information is hardly available to the weaver. . The state marketing support agencies should focus on areas neglected by private traders, such as the thicket fabrics that form the basis of domestic (and also export) demand. Since the margins are not very high here, it is often neglected. . Introduction of branding to the handloom product is another important measure that increases the marketability of the products. There is a need to build up the image of Original Handmade Products along with some legal protection like Handloom Mark and promotion of this brand everywhere so as to educate the consumer about the real Handloom Products and thus carve out a separate niche from the power loom products. . Propaganda of Handloom Mark and Hand woven product on TV, Newspaper, and other media. . Facilitation for participation in fairs, exhibitions, retail chain etc. . Linkages with boutiques, exporters, bulk purchasing Govt. deptts such as Police, Railways, Navodaya schools, Home Guards, Military etc. and other high-end marketing channels. Authorities implementing Handloom Cluster Development Schemes may attempt these channels. Similarly joint ventures between competent and committed handpicked state agencies, NGO's and representatives of producer groups could provide models for successful market development. . There is a general trend in the market for customized and small lots. Therefore, there is need to prepare the weavers to customize their products as per the requirements of the client (this customer oriented production can also become the core competence of handloom products.) . Along with the importance of traditional marketing channels like exhibition and sales in Indian cities, etc. the new channels such as e- commerce need to be explored. There are very good private sector players on the Internet marketing handloom on line in small and customized lots. It has been observed that no sincere and concerted effort has been made to create a market for the Rohilkhand handlooms. Poor and handicapped weavers are striving to earn their bread by selling their products in weekly markets, haats, pheris to low income groups and economically weaker section of hilly regions of Almora, Nainital, Ranikhet , Kausani etc. Excellent quality of fabric produced , decorated and ornamented in Rampur, Bareilly , Shahjahanpur districts have surrendered their market to low priced powerloom and mill made fabrics Though the ministry of Textiles , Government of India has sanctioned several schemes exclusively for marketing promotion such as Handloom Export scheme (HES) , Marketing Promotion Programme (MPP) and Development of exportable products and their Marketing (DEPM) but all these schemes have failed to achieve their objectives . Organisation of Trade Fairs , Exhibitions and expos are strong channel of marketing but due to careless and negligent attitude of the Govt. machinery and benami booking of selling facilities , stalls etc. these powerful marketing tools have been rendered to be formal annual shows . Any fair or exhibition can not succeed in today's World without rigorous publicity and involvement of media - Print and Electronic , celebrity models for endorsement and total dedication of the organizers . The handloom industry has been found to be lacking in this aspect . Branding of Rohilkhand Handloom products has not been done so far which too has detrimental effect on domestic and overseas fabric market . The handloom authorities efforts to compel Bulk purchasing by Govt Departments even by enacting new rules and legislations was not found anywhere Private business houses like Pantaloon , Westend and Fabindia are prospering day and night on the labour of Rohilkhand weavers but Handloom cooperatives like UPICA and State Handloom Corporation are sustaining losses year by year on account of very poor marketing of handloom fabrics . This anomaly requires deep introspection.

Name of InstitutionHandloom Marketing in Rohilkhand

Author(s) NameParnil Verma

Added/Updated byParnil Verma



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