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Empowerment of women artisans to equalize pay, meet fair trade standards, reduce poverty: Mehmood Shah

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SRINAGAR: Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir, Mehmood Ahmad Shah while interacting with Women Sozni Artisans from district Ganderbal in the 10th capacity building programme said that the empowerment of women artisans has the potential to not only equalize pay and meet the fair trade standards, but it can also set the stage for greater poverty reduction.

The programme was organised by the PHDCCI-Kashmir in association with the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir and with the support of the Department of Commerce-Ministry of Commerce & Industry Government of India.

Shah further added that in the present-day context, where e-commerce rules the business and trade, it has become even more important that, besides providing modern production tools and technology skills, the Kashmiri artisan community should have basic business skills wrapped with e-commerce-enabled understanding and doing business on e-platforms through their social media connections.

“The capacity building programmes that we are organising in association with PHDCCI is an endeavour to provide and sharpen the skills such as new design development, Merchandising Concepts, Consumer Taste, E-commerce, Quality Assurance, Packaging and Logistics, and Finance and schemes for Small Craft Businesses,” he said.

The training will bring about overall efficiency in their small handicraft business and will help them market their products on e-commerce platforms and ultimately result in sustained livelihood and income generation.

The programme was attended by more than 50- Artisans of Sozni Hand Embroidery from various areas and craft clusters of the Ganderbal District. The Chief Designer from the School of Designs Amina Asad along with her team of Master Trainers in Sozni Art acquainted the local Artisans with the latest trends to put their creativity to productive use as per the market demands and gave a detailed presentation on the latest Designs and fashion in Sozni Art.

Dr Asif Danish Assistant professor Department of Management Studies IUST University explained to the artisans that technology has proved to be a strong enabler in most sectors – the Kashmiri handicraft industry needs to embrace technology across the value chain – from production to the final sale of goods.

However, this needs to be coupled with education at the grassroots level on the use of technology, whether it is to increase quality production yield or provide artisans with access to direct digital markets, he said.

New-age consumers are increasingly opting to shop through virtual markets and we all together should make efforts to engage with local women Sozni artisans and weavers and hand-hold them for ensuring that they get the right price and market for their products, he further added.

Also, he said the dearth of working capital, dependence upon middlemen for raw materials, marketing, and even the design is certain factors forcing the artisans to sell off their talent and craft.

The artisans of Sozni were also made to visit the school of designs wherein they observed the New Design Pattern of Sozni and also various designs that were prepared and designed by the School of Designs and were shared with Artisans. It was told to the artisans to often visit the school of Designs for the latest designs and quality improvement of their products.

While applauding the role of the Handicraft Department and PHDCCI for arranging such a wonderful awareness workshop, the Artisans of Sozni Embroidery said that they have gained and enriched a lot through the two-day program and will adopt the techniques learnt in the packaging, designing, and e-Marketing of their products.

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