In an attempt to revive the rural and village industries, the Maharashtra State Khadi and Village Industries Board (MSKVIB) has rebranded Khadi as “MahaKhadi”. The decision, MSKVIB says, was taken to make Khadi a peoples’ movement once again and encourage the sector through new means of marketing. With an aim to take the rural industry to the high street fashion scene, the MSKVIB recently launched the MahaKhadi Yatra from Mumbai.
The prime focus of the initiative is to promote the sale of Khadi in the state. The government is also conducting similar festivals across the state.
“Khadi entrepreneurs are all old timers. No youngsters seem interested in joining rural industries. This will lead to the decline of the sector. The idea is to attract youngsters and also take Khadi products to the international market. Rebranding seemed to be the perfect solution to us,” said Bipin Jagtap, the deputy CEO, MSKVIB.
The MahaKhadi Yatra that was flagged off from Mumbai will be held across the state from October 9 to December-end and showcase a wide variety of Khadi products. An exhibition organised at Thane fetched a revenue of Rs 3 lakhs in three days, the MSKVIB officials said. The MSKVIB is going to open its first MahaKhadi outlet in Pune.
Apart from fabric, products like honey, agarbatti, soaps, bamboo crafts, warli paintings and handmade artefacts etc, manufactured by rural entrepreneurs would be put on sale in the exhibition during the MahaKhadi Yatra. The MSKVIB currently has 120 sectors under the Gramodyog with around 7 lakh entrepreneurs. The board is working to take these products to the international market.
Vishal Chordia, the chairman, MSKVIB said: “Rural India is changing rapidly. Now, people opt for brands. It became a challenge for us to revive these products and elevate its brand value. Even though the business, the product are not doing well, but it is well known. The products needed an upgrade to keep up with the new age. We also realised that there is hardly any connect between the artisans and consumers. The gap led to products becoming outdated for consumers. It diverted the consumers to Chinese products. It made us rethink the entire set up.”
Chordia and his team carried out a research on the market value and promotions of Khadi products across Maharashtra. They felt that “Gramudyog” (village industries) has to become a recognisable brand to elevate its market value. It was then decided that Khadi would be rebranded as MahaKhadi.
MSKVIB officials said, in 2014-15, the production of Khadi across the country stood at Rs 879.98 crore in terms of its market value, which increased to Rs 1065.60 crore in 2015-16. The production accelerated to Rs 1395.94 crore this year.
In Maharashtra, the sale of Khadi products from the 23 Khadi manufacturing units across the state stands at Rs 1043.84 lakh in 2015-16 and Rs 1097.71 lakh in 2016-17.
“The rebranding of the product will also help us encourage the rural entrepreneurs to establish their own identity,” Jagtap said. The MSKVIB has come up with several initiatives to boost the rural and home-based village industry, MahaKhadi is one of them.