This fiscal’s $ 3.3 billion target for the export of handicrafts is likely to be met on account of growing demand for such items from emerging markets like China, Latin America and Africa.

Their exports stood at $ 2.7 billion, according to the data provided by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).

“These exports have performed really well in the first 10 months of this fiscal due to rising demand from not only US but also from emerging markets like China, Latin America, Middle East and Africa,” EPCH Chairman Arvind Vadhera said.

“So, we expect this year’s target will be met,” he said. He added, however, that demand is yet to pick up in the European markets.

The US and Europe together account for about 60 per cent of the country’s total handicraft shipments.

During April-January 2012-13, the handicraft exports have grown 22 per cent to $ 2.3 billion compared to the same period last fiscal.

Among the items that registered maximum growth during this period are woodwares (72 per cent), imitation jewellery (61 per cent), shawls as art-ware (53 per cent) and hand-printed textiles and scarves (14 per cent).

Besides, EPCH said the exporters have started focusing on the local markets.

“Many exporters have tied up with stores like Westside and Big Bazaar for supplying items like home furnishing, decor products and imitation jewellery,” EPCH Executive Director Rakesh Kumar said.

Further, the council said it is organising a four-day long Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair (IHGF) beginning February 8, to create niche for such products globally.

Over about 2,500 Indian exhibitors are expected to participate in the fair showcasing products — decoratives, Christmas gifts, woodware, paper and fragrance items. Last year, about 2,300 exhibitors had participated in the fair.

“The fair is expected to attract more than 4,000 buyers from various countries including the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and South Africa,” Kumar said. Last year, it attracted about 3,800 buyers.

The handicrafts sector employs one million people.

Moradabad, Jaipur, Saharanpur and Jodhpur are the major handicraft hubs in the country catering to global markets.

(This article was published on February 5, 2013)
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