GI tag reunites artisans with handicrafts in Kashmir, production, exports surge



SRINAGAR, Apr 08: Forty-four year-old Mohammad Saleem a decade before had given up his profession as a shawl weaver.

He got associated with other trades, which although didn’t give him enough money and satisfaction.

Come 2023, Jammu and Kashmir Pashmina along with other handicrafts got Geographic Indication (GI) Tag, which brought back the value of this prized craft of Kashmir.

Cashing in on the GI tag, Saleem has reunited with his craft and has now started weaving the shawls again.

“Few years back, there was no value in this craft at all. Artisans and weavers used to get very low income which forced many like me to look for other avenues. Now when the government approved the GI tag for Pashmina, it has brought back the value of this craft. Now we get good money as well as recognition,” he said.

Saleem is not an isolated case as many artisans have reconnected with the handicrafts in the valley after the government approved GI tag for many crafts.

In Banidpora’s Gadkhod village, which is known for producing quality hand-woven carpets, scores of the families have got again associated with this handicraft form.

“We produce varieties of carpets in our village. We have a major section of people who have been associated with this art from generations. Now when the artisans as well as dealers get good prices in the domestic and international market, this art has again flourished in our village,” said Mohammad Akram, a local artisan.

Pertinently, 21392 handicrafts products were Geographical Indication (GI) tagged in the first three-quarters of FY24.

Official figures reveal that 21392 products have been labeled from April to December 31, 2023. In the entire 2022-23, 12904 products were GI tagged. Likewise, 6,164 products were GI tagged in 2012-22.

An official from the handicrafts department said the GI tag had proved a gamechange in flourishing the handicrafts sector in the valley.

“We have witnessed that our production as well as exports have grown for the last couple of years. We are expecting the sector to grow further as people are now again adopting and learning this art to earn a good and respectable living, ” he said—(KNO)


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