First virtual trade expo of handlooms coming up

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Handloom is a traditional and timeless art form. The handloom fabric represents diverse cultural and historical lineages. It also reflects customs, mythologies and the artist’s emotions.  Each incomparable piece tells a unique story through plain fabrics, tribal motifs, geometric design and colourful dyes

The first virtual exhibition on handlooms, titled Handloom Festival- Redefining Tradition and Style for global audience, is scheduled to go live from October 17 to November 15, 2020 coinciding with 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. The exhibition will showcase khadi and handloom products and is being organised by the World Trade Center- Goa in collaboration with World Trade Center Mumbai.

Participation at the exhibition is very affordable at Rs 1,000+ GST per stall. Officials from WTC are looking for Goan’s to participate and so far about 12 entrepreneurs from the state have registered for the exhibition. 

The highlights of the virtual expo are webinars, buyer-seller meetings, export-oriented training programmes and workshops, silent auctions, exchange and collaborative programmes to showcase future trends in colours and designs. The virtual exhibition is expected to provide opportunity for artists, weavers, micro-entrepreneurs including women SHGs, clusters and village industries to showcase khadi and handloom products.

More than 100 exhibitors will showcase sarees, fabric material, shawls, stoles, dress material, mats, rugs, carpets along with home furnishing and other accessories from several states and overseas. Large number of buyers from nearly 330 WTC’s from 90 countries will interact with the exhibitors at this virtual exhibition to forge fruitful collaborations. 

While elaborating on the online handloom festival, Sharad Upasani, chairman, WTC- Goa said, “India has a distinct competitive advantage in handlooms as is evident from the fact that the country is the second largest exporter of these products in the world. However, the pandemic has severely paralysed the ability of the artisans to produce, market, exhibit and sell handloom products. The resultant crash in business has serious consequences on the survival of these artists, weavers and their ancient techniques. This online exhibition is part of our efforts to create opportunities for these weavers in international market as well as helping the sustenance and revival of this timeless art.”

The handloom industry of India plays a crucial role in the economic development as it employs over 4.3 million people both directly and indirectly, making it the second largest employment generator among the rural population, after agriculture. The sector also promotes women’s empowerment as 77 per cent of workforce in the sector comprises women.

India’s export of handloom products was valued at US $ 343.69 million in 2018-19, as compared to US $ 226.05 million (till November 2019) in 2019-20. The US was the major importer of Indian handloom products, with an estimated purchase of US $ 93.94 million, followed by the UK, Italy and Germany at US $ 17.77 million, US $ 16.47 million and US $ 14.65 million, respectively.

The handloom exhibition is part of the larger picture where the WTC is having series of online exhibition for focus sectors such as textiles, fabrics & yarns, engineering, auto parts & accessories, plastics, chemicals, agri & agri processing, electronics, electricals and healthcare. These sectors are India’s top exporting sectors. Through the online platform WTC aims at promoting MSME entrepreneurs to connect to potential buyers and will further help increase India’s export. Entrepreneurs will also be provided training modules on quality certification, packaging, trade barriers, opportunities in FTAs, research data as well as opportunity for B2B meetings with sellers. This platform will help to realise the Prime Minister’s vision of DigitalMSME, AtmaNirbharBharat and Vocal4Local.

Kamal Morarka, chairman, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai, said, “As MVIRDC WTC Mumbai completes 50 years the virtual world trade expo will serve as an effective catalyst to connect MSMEs, start-ups and women entrepreneurs from India and overseas to explore possibilities of enhancing trade, exploring collaborations and contract manufacturing across sectors.”