The Director of India’s Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), Rajesh Verma, said that South Africa is by far the only African country that has been receiving a large number of Indian handicrafts exports. The same cannot be said of Botswana.
Verma said that EPCH will be expanding their exports to Kenya because they have identified that it has potential and that it is easy to enter the market. He, however, said that Botswana has a long way to go before EPCH can start exporting their handicrafts here.
Verma to the Telegraph in New Delhi that as part of the India’s Handicrafts and Gifts Fair (IHGF), they are looking to diversify and enter new markets that they haven’t had business associations with.
He said that 30 percent of the exports have been to the United States of America, which has been the country with the largest orders .Other countries that have been receiving the exported handicrafts are France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Australia.
Verma said that this coming March, as part of their diversification, they will be starting to export to Mexico. He added that this year they have had a 19 percent growth because handicrafts easily penetrate the market.
Verma went on to say that the products produced in India are of high quality and meet the standards because they go through a control department that assesses the quality. He said that they have also made sure that there is no child labour in the production of the exported goods.
He added that there are no specific handicraft schools in India but rather the skills on how to make handicrafts are passed on from one generation to the next. He, however, added that there is an institution coming up that will offer design support for the handicrafts.
Hitting hard on Chinese products, Verma said that, as compared to China’s, Indian products are of a higher quality. He said that with China, the products are cheap and affordable which means the focus is quantity rather than the quality. He also said that China’s products are machine driven while India’s are handmade with the assistance of machines here and there. Verma said that quality is very important for buyers because they get their money’s worth.
The IHGF has increased over the years with an indication of an increase in the number of participant’s . The IHGF offers a great business opportunity to the exhibitors as buyers come from all over the world to see the handicrafts directly. When the IHGF started in 1994 there were only 313 exhibitors but the number has risen over the years.
Last year, there were around 2328 exhibitors and the number has picked up this year to around 3000. In the year 2010-2011, the export of handicrafts from India were of the order amounting to US $2391.52 million as compared to 1994 when the export orders amounted to US $576.76 million.