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Handloom sector crying for attention
Nov '08
The handloom sector was at its prime till a few decades ago, but started declining gradually with the introduction of more and more mechanized machines. Government support is also dwindling leading to a dwindling in number of handlooms in Gujarat, a province in India.

According to a recently released paper by National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), Gujarat has 1,234 registered Primary Weavers Cooperative Societies, of which only 217 are functioning as on March 2006.

Gujarat was and is still considered hub of handloom weaving in India and is famous for its silk Patola saris which can take up to 6 months to weave and can cost up to a flattering Rs 100,000. But a majority of the handloom weavers are engaged in weaving coarser variety of cotton cloth preferred by the rural population.

A vocation which was a full time activity for all members in a family has now become a part time activity due to the un-remunerative returns from the trade. The reasons are not far to seek. There is a glaring absence of link between production and marketing, lack of knowledge of market requirements and lack of enthusiasm of the weavers to adopt modern technologies.

Even financial institutions are wary of lending to this sector due to the poor demand for products from this sector. All this has led to serious decline in number of weavers from within the sector as they are shifting to more remunerative activities.

NABARD in its report has suggested formation of Handloom Weaver's Groups for strengthening over all working of the sector. These groups are supposed to be formed on lines of Joint Liability Groups and Self Help Groups.

It has also come out with a new scheme for the master weavers to meet their working capital needs. The formation of these groups along with the scheme is expected to address the financial credit needs of these handloom weavers.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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