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Handloom sector needs strategy, says Kerala Minister

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , Aug. 21

THERE is a need to craft a strategy that will improve the performance of the handloom sector in Kerala, according to Mr P.K. Kunhalikutty, State Minister for Industries and IT. He made these remarks while inaugurating a discussion on `the problems faced by the handloom industry in Kerala'.

There is growing demand across the world for traditional products such as handloom fabric that are `natural', Mr Kunhalikutty said. However, consumers the world over are looking for high quality handloom fabric that is competitively priced, he added.

Mr John Mathai, Principal Secretary, Industries, said 16 per cent of the handloom fabric produced in India is from Kerala. Yet, there is a belief that the growth of this sector - within the cooperative fold - has not lived up to the potential, he said.

There is a need to make handloom products more `demand-oriented' while also creating a `Kerala brand' in the handloom sector, he added.

Making a presentation on the occasion, Mr V. Sasi, Director, Handloom and Textiles, said the State Government had made a budgetary allocation of Rs 25.9 crore for the sector in the current financial year.

The handloom industry in Kerala accounts for Rs 238 crore of exports, with 98 per cent of these exports coming from Kannur district alone, he added.

A major threat confronting the handloom sector in Kerala is the possibility of the free movement of textiles once the Multi Fibre Agreement runs out in 2005, said Mr Sasi.

Handloom fabric from Kerala is also likely to face intense competition in the international market from cheaper products from countries such as Taiwan and China, he added.

Weavers' representatives Government officials and other stakeholders participated.

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