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Define handicrafts specifically & separate from textiles - experts
May '09
By revitalizing fair trade movement in the country, the handicraft products and indigenous crops must be protected as well as some effective steps should be taken regarding this, said Industries Minister Dilip Barua.

Mr. Barua was speaking at a function organized to mark the 'World Fair Trade Day'. Campaigners of fair trade movement joined the function, which is an initiative launched 60 years ago to protect marginal producers' and facilitate their market access around the world.

Further more, the Minister said, to protect the rights of small producers who are struggling for the existence during this phase of globalization and trade liberalization, this trade fair will prove to be a noble initiative. Trade liberalization doesn't mean mechanization will take over all and root out indigenous products like crafts, handicrafts and handlooms, he added.

The Minister was critical of his immediate predecessors for not taking timely initiative to file for intellectual property rights (IPR) of various handicraft and handloom products saying that the delay in such processes results in negative outcome. Citing two instances he said, “Just as the patent of 'Basmati' rice is now claimed by an US company, while that of Bangladesh's 'Neem' tree is in the thick of a debate.

However, positive steps which will lead to a flourishing of native industries have been taken by the government, since they are the only alternative to local production through industrialization, said Mr. Barua.

There are about 1.2 million marginal producers, of which maximum are the crafts persons but only 120,000 of them have been brought under the movement. The west has got a market potential of $100 million but the exports of handicraft products that have been realized by these producers to the European markets totaled to only $3 million per annum, a figure that reflects no growth over half a decade.

Due to lack of integrated handicraft policy and one stop centers, these producers could not realize the market potential, said Arshad Siddiqui, campaigner and director of ECOTA Forum. He also said, supportive environment and pro-growth policy of the governments of Vietnam, Indonesia and India are helping those countries to enhance their international market share.

Unless and until the handicrafts are not separated from the clutches of textile sector and its definition is not made specific, it would never find a firm footing, said Tourem Robin of Shilleikon, a creative centre adding that the crafts, handicrafts and handloom would be in the same cluster.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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