Buyers are more enthusiastic

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It is the fourth buyer seller meeting that the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) is organizing. Tasavur Mushtaq meets KCCI president Abdul Hamid Punjabi to understand how successfully the exercise is helping the handicraft sector. Excerpts from a long interview:

Abdul Hamid Punjabi

Abdul Hamid Punjabi

Kashmir Life: How many buyers are participating in the event this year?

Abdul Hamid Punjabi: Around 70 buyers from all over the world will be participating in the meet. Most of them are from Europe, America, Africa, Gulf and South Asia. Some of them might have participated in the event earlier but most of them are new to this experience. This time, we found buyers were more enthusiastic about the event.

KL: What are your expectations from the meet?

HP: This is fourth international buyer seller meet. As far as our experience of last three meets is concerned, the international market is more interested and this year we will have more buyers than last year. This year is going to be remarkable. This exercise is helping us to get the foreign buyer to Srinagar and make direct contacts with the sellers and artisans.

Last year we had only 30 buyers and this time it is more than double. Sellers as well as buyers are enthusiastic. We have already launched awareness campaign to get the best of the products on display. Seller will be displaying carpet, shawls, papier-machie, and other handicraft items. The recognition is coming in our way and we should be optimistic.

Production of Handicrafts    (in Crore Rs)

Year Carpet Woolen Shawls Papier Machie Other items Total
2003-04 450.53 275 13.5

82.5

821.53

2004-05 425 315 24

123

887

2005-06 425 310 30

135

900

2006-07 450.5 320 35

144.5

950

2007-08 761.27 420.58 37.92

394.82

1614.59

2008-09 457.6 303.45 35.49

303.46

1100

2009-10 638.17 201.03 10.15

151.15

1000

2010-2011 735.1 343.1 38.32

533.78

1650.3

 Source: Industries & Commerce Ministry, J&K Government, Srinagar.

KL: How is this event helping brand Kashmir?

HP: We have been known globally as the master artisans and craftsmen. For many centuries handicrafts remained one of the main ingredients of our identity. These events bring us in sharp focus again. We are being recognized and taken seriously. These events are meant to help, organize and boost the basic stake holders of heritage trade and we believe it is helping the brand Kashmir. This is like bringing whole of world to the doorstep of Kashmir, otherwise every seller won’t be able to visit the places buyers are coming from.

KL: This yearly meeting apart, what the KCCI is doing otherwise to uplift the trade?

HP: We are in a continuous process of organizing and promoting trade, commerce and industries in Kashmir. In the process we keep interests of artisans and laborers as our top priority. We watch over and protect the general commercial interests of persons engaged in trade.  We are also sending traders to trade fairs held in different parts of world. It is not something we can achieve and settle down, it essentially is a continuous process.

Handicraft Export (in Crore Rs)

Year

Carpet

Woolen Shawls Papier Machie Other items

Total

2003-04

334

196 10.5 54.5

595

2004-05

307.5

210 17.5 107

642

2005-06

325

220 27.5 132.5

705

2006-07

351.5

275 31.5 127

785

2007-08

649.02

310.29 33.65 207.51

1200.47

2008-09

326

226.5 41 112

705.5

2009-10

407.73

137.13 30.27 86.14

661.27

2010-11

412.45

302 66.5 223.15

1004.1

Source: Industries & Commerce Ministry, J&K Government, Srinagar.

KL: What are the processes in place to get the bet buyers to Srinagar?

HP: We are in the trade and we know who is the best buyer and the off shore importer. We write to them and they follow the prescribed norms to be part of the event. KCCI’s role is to facilitate the two sides – the buyer and the seller. With the help of the government, we created a platform that provides all the facilities to the two sides. It obviously leads to better interaction between the two parties and eventually the trade is helped. The two sides discuss many thing including the market priorities, the new designs and the systems and packages for shipments and all that which otherwise takes its own time. The buyer seller meeting has now emerged as a yearly festival for the handicraft sector.

KL: As a president you are first time in chair to organize the meet. How do you see it?

HP: I expect the event to be fruitful. It will increase and improve the business relationship between buyers and sellers. This is in fact a base for long and sustainable relationship. To get maximum benefit for our trade is our motive and hopefully we will try our best to achieve that.

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