Pavilion named after J&K, Kashmiri women turning business models for other states
Punjab International Trade Expo - 2022
AMRITSAR: Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX) – 2022, a premier trade and business exhibition organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Amritsar, witnessed enthusiastic participation of women entrepreneurs from Jammu & Kashmir. A complete pavilion was named after ‘Jammu and Kashmir’ with other exhibits, which rarely has happened in 16-year history of PITEX.
Owing to conditions of turmoil over years, women of Jammu and Kashmir, in comparison to mainland India, are seen as more reticent in terms of business entrepreneurship, but now could be seen at PITEX increasingly stepping out of not only their homes but their home state and competing in business circles in the country.
Director Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah while talking to ‘Kashmir Images’ from Srinagar said, “I wish to see the women of Jammu and Kashmir touch the skies in every field. My good wishes and support is always with the skilled craftsmen and craftswomen who create magic with their handicrafts. Alongside, I see men’s support for women in business increasing, which bodes for encouraging results. “
As many as 70 businessmen and businesswomen arrived from J&K to participate in the Amritsar leg of PITEX.
Srinagar’s Shahina Akhtar, who is a participant, said, “I am giving employment to dozens of women. Till some time ago women were hesitant to work in Kashmir. Now the thinking of the people of Kashmir is gradually undergoing a change and girls of Kashmir are becoming role models for the country”.
Another woman entrepreneur from J&K, Mehroon Bali, an artist said, “Through PITEX I got such a platform where I can not only promote my product but can also earn money.”
It may be mentioned here that women-owned businesses pay a fraction of the cost for stalls in this initiative of PITEX.
Kashmir’s Madiha Talat, who displayed her cosmetics created from organic and natural herbs said, “I couldn’t ever dream of traveling to other states to market my product. I give full credit to the men in my family who support me thoroughly. I couldn’t be luckier than this. My product is unique, pure and to a point, everything natural has been used to make it.”
Srinagar’s Irfana – a businesswoman, who strongly felt for the women of her state said – “Girls from my state have experienced setbacks earlier due to non-conducive atmosphere. Troubled years set us back several decades, while the world has moved forward in leaps and bounds. For this change to become a reality and for our state to become prosperous, the perception towards women has to be changed! The women who have managed to reach PITEX with their products are not only doing business worth lakhs and crores, but are also providing employment to thousands of women and the spiral effect is coming to families of such women, artisans, and other related people of Jammu &Kashmir.”
Meanwhile, Riyaz Ahmed Kaus, Publicity and Exhibition Officer of Jammu-Kashmir Handicrafts and Handloom informed that in comparison to 20 stalls last year, this year 35 stalls from Kashmir are set up.
“From Jammu, there were 15 stalls last year while this year we have 20 stalls, besides Jammu and Kashmir Trade Promotion Organization JKTPO also has set up 20 stalls,” he said.
Among Indian states, Uttar Pradesh had the maximum number of stalls, while international exhibitors including handicrafts from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Dubai, Thailand, and Turkey were displayed and attracted huge footfall.
Trendy and healthy organically grown fruit juices, herbs and spices and cold pressed oils, cherries, dry fruit, asafoetida or hing from Afghanistan, and saffron from Kashmir and Iran, were especially sought by buyers and B2B enthusiasts.