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GI tag provides leverage to Uppada saree producers
Oct '10
The Geographical Indication (GI) status has provided a commercial leverage to the Uppada saree weavers to increase their income. It was in 2009 when the traditional Jamdani weaving method, wherein beautiful patterns of gold and silver zari are created without any mechanical help, taken up by the Uppada saree weavers was recognized for GI registration.

The GI is the intellectual property right that prohibits the other manufacturers from producing as well as selling a product with same name. With the GI label, the financial condition of Uppada saree weavers has improved and now they are in a position to cater to the needs of both domestic as well as global markets.

Earlier, the inflow of low-priced fabric with the Uppada label in the market had caused most of the weavers to lose their business. But now they are able to sell 50 sarees per month to showrooms in Hyderabad, with each saree selling at a price of Rs 20,000. The price of Uppada sarees ranges between Rs 5,000 to Rs 80,000. The specially-ordered wedding sarees cost more than Rs 0.3 million (Rs 3 lakh).

One of the handloom associations' annual turnover rose by two times from Rs 20 million every month last year. Around 100 weavers are needed to weave a saree. Currently, the association is facing the challenge of labor shortage. At present, there is 30 percent shortage of weavers, which increases the production time of a single saree by another 15 days.

The Uppada weavers are often swindled by the brokers, who pay them small amounts. The sharp rise in the price of silk from Rs 1,600 per kg last year to Rs 2,600 per kg, this year, is also causing great concern to the weavers. The association has urged the government to supply silk at a subsidized rate and allot funds so that a store can be set up in Delhi. This is expected to put an end to the problem caused by the middlemen.

Fibre2fashion News Desk-India

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