Jharkhand handicrafts lure Belgian studentsBy Girija Shankar Ojha
Jamshedpur, (Jharkhand), July 14: Impressed by the rising demand for Indian handicrafts in the international market, a group of Belgian research scholars recently visited some tribal villages in Jharkhand to assess the scope of marketing tribal handicraft internationally.
Sixteen Belgian students undertook a 15-day research tour under the supervision of the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) in Jamshedpur. They claimed that handicraft items, especially Indian handicraft items, were in great demand abroad, and if marketed properly, tribals could earn substantially.
"In Western countries, if something is manufactured in machinery, it is not as valuable as what is handcrafted by people. So, the value of these tribal artefacts is really more than what comes out of the factory," claimed Sarven, a student.
The Belgians students were particularity impressed with the beautiful baskets, bags and other bamboo and jute products.
Martin, another student, said that these products could be exported but emphasised on the biologically-friendly items.
The students visited tribal villages around Jamshedpur under the aegis of a voluntary organisation, Sheeds, which is working on ways to uplift tribals in the region.
"They came to XLRI to do a research on global market, which is limited to corporate and industry. But they wanted to know if traditional handicrafts made in the villages have a global market," said Subara, the Convener of Sheeds.
According to a Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) report, the market for Indian handicrafts in Europe is tremendous.
Indian exports of handicrafts registered a little over ten per cent (about 299 million dollars) in 2005-06.
In 2006, Orissa, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Chhattisharh, Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern region were the focus areas, as they have abundant growth prospects in the handicraft sector.
Indian handicraft is expected to triple its export turnover to Rs. 39,000 crore (excluding carpets) by 2009-10, which will also create around 20 lakh new jobs.