The inaugural ceremony of the seven-day Garvi Gurjari National Craft Fair and Summit 2014, saw BJP’s PM candidate and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi give lessons in marketing, packaging, branding and connectivity with global markets, to an audience that comprised of artisans from 19 states belonging to the handicrafts sector.
“Without packaging, branding, marketing and connectivity we will not be able to give progress to this sector. Students of NID, NIFT, architecture and engineering should meet at a common platform and deliberate on how to bring about new innovations in this sector.
“Even a corner in every exhibition that they host should be dedicated to handicrafts, while hotels can dedicate one floor as handicraft wing…let them charge guests Rs 200 more for it…
“We can promote one thing in so many ways…Branding is essential, without it we cannot pitch the handicraft market to global markets…Financial help should also be provided and global positioning of our handicrafts should be our aim..
“There are people from 19 states who are here. But our objective should not be limited that people should buy more and make profits, and getting more customers, but the summit should become a forum where efforts should be made to deliver progress,” said Modi, while citing that the summit is of more importance than the biannual Vibrant Gujarat summit the Gujarat government hosts.
Underlining the need for enabling artisans online reach to help them access global markets, he said, “Get artisans acquainted to primary technology, then they will take it forward with their mobile handsets. Artisans should be given ICT exposure to link them with customers and businesses globally…
“Even a chair if marketed well with its health benefits written on its side, which are not falsehoods, but proven, can be sold easily these days…If something is technologically proven then we must think of how to market such products.”
Giving an example of Gujarat’s successful Khushboo Gujarat Ki(KGK) campaign, Modi spoke about how tourism and handicrafts sector go hand in hand.
“I have noticed that only in places of tourist interest, especially coastal areas, can handicrafts flourish. People buy things from there and take them back home as souvenirs to show the uniqueness of the place, and we must start 500 such tourists centers with handicraft bazaars so people can buy souvenirs.
“Sadly for us the tourism and handicrafts ministry are different portfolios, and the people in charge of both do not meet even once in the whole year.
“However, we have tried this in the KGK campaign through the Rann Utsav which takes place in December and January, where we get a lakh footfalls. Someone told me this that a family of 100 artisans, who make handicrafts, sold products worth Rs 2 crores in just two months during the festival.”
Speaking about how the handicrafts sector is languishing owing to youngsters giving up family-owned handicrafts business, Modi said more deliberations are required on this issue to help protect the rich legacy of craft traditions that are family-owned.
“We must think of ways to see how this business can be expanded horizontally, so that their quality of life improves. Artisans must change means of manufacturing, increase quality upgradation, product innovation, make product user-friendly, create innovations and have research inputs, where Government can help,” said Modi.
Gujarat’s Industries and Mines minister Saurabhbhai Patel in his welcome address said that around 5000 artisans from ten states are set to attend week-long craft fair, along with 500 buyers who will tap the export potential of the handicraft products.
He added that the event organised by the Ministry of Cottage Industries and the Government of Gujarat along with CEPT University, the partner institute, has kept a special bankers pavilion for artisans in need of financial assistance.