Opening up vistas

   

Nazir A Dar, KCCI President talks about the Buyer Seller Meet being held in Srinagar and other efforts made by the organization to market Kashmir’s products throughout the world in an interview with Ibrahim Wani.

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KCCI President Nazir A Dar
KCCI President Nazir A Dar

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

Nazir A Dar: Around 40 buyers from all the continents of the world will be participating in the meet. Some buyers from the past meets have repeated (are coming again), but most of the buyers are new.
More than 30 sellers are participating in the meet this year, and they will be displaying various products like carpets, shawls, Papier-m?ch? and other handicrafts. This year we have also added saffron and some other horticultural products.

KL: What are your expectations from the meet?

ND: Sky is the limit as far as our expectations are concerned. The aim of organising events of this kind is to boost export and get people from all over the world to Kashmir, to buy from the source.

Before 1990s most of the buyers would come to Kashmir. But this changed, and many exporters shifted their bases to outside. Now through meets like this we want to bring back buyers to Kashmir, so that they see the work being put into making each handicraft item. Real buyers will see the art and buy here.

Through meets of this sort we seek to improve awareness of Kashmiri products all over the world, and boost export. Today, Kashmir exports around 1500 crores worth of handicrafts to the world. But we feel that the potential is much higher, around 30,000 crore. Our products are the best in the world. We only lag behind in marketing. The meet seeks to address this issue.

KL: This is the third buyer seller meet being organised in Kashmir. How has the response been as compared to the previous two meets?

ND:  We started the buyer seller meet in 2007, making use of a Government of India scheme for export promotion. The event was sponsored by the Union Ministry of Commerce. The then Union Minister of Commerce, Jairam Ramesh and the J&K Bank encouraged us a lot.

The meet has been evolving since 2007, and the response has been growing with every event. In 2009, the response was better than 2007, and this year we expect it to be much better than 2009.

Now, we plan to have the meet every year. We are trying to set a yearly calendar, so that people associated with the handicraft industry get benefited. There will be weavers and artisans at the meet also who will display their art and crafts to the buyers.

A directory of participants and sellers is being sent to all the embassies in New Delhi, and all the Indian embassies throughout the world.

KL: What are the other initiatives being taken by the KCCI to promote trade and exports?

ND: KCCI is the first chamber to be given the status of a nodal agency for export promotion, which is equivalent to any export promotion council in India.

In addition to this meet, we are vouching for an international trade centre in Kashmir. We are also pursuing for a mega corporate cluster in Kashmir. When these projects materialize, it will come as a big boost to trade.

An inland container depot is also coming up at Rangreth. This would make sending of goods from Kashmir to the country and other parts of the world, easy.

KCCI was instrumental in getting the Geographical Registration (GI) registration for Pashmina. Now we are in the process of getting the same for Kashmiri carpet, which are famous all over the world.

We are also sending a number of traders to trade fairs held in different parts of the world. In the most recent case, we sent 18 handicraft traders to a trade fair in Dubai from November 2010 to February 2011. We are opening up vistas for Kashmiri business. Many more projects are in the pipeline.

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