Kashmir: Wah Pashmina! GI tagging of exquisite Kashmir shawls record 1100% jump

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

SRIINAGAR: Geographical Indication (GI) tagging of Pashmina shawls has witnessed a whopping 1100 percent increase last year.

Buoyed by the response, Jammu and Kashmir government is mulling a massive awareness campaign within and outside the country to push exports.

“There has been an 1100 percent increase in Pashmina Gi last year. We need to carry out massive awareness within the country and abroad about GI,” Mehmood A Shah, director Handicrafts and Handlooms told The Kashmir Monitor.

Pashmina is among few traditional crafts including Carpet, Sozni-embroidery, Kani-shawl, Papier-Mâché, Khatamband, and Walnut Woodcarving that have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) symbolizing their exclusivity in the international market.

Pashmina is fine wool extracted from a goat found in the cold desert of Ladakh. The wool is used by the artisans and craftsmen of Kashmir for making exquisite handmade shawls that have a huge demand world over.

A plain 100 percent handmade Pashmina shawl sells at Rs 10,000 at the manufacturing level. Design and embroidery work on the shawl determine its ultimate market value. Intricate embroidery and its design can push the cost of Pashmina fabric including shawls to Rs five lakh or more.

GI status is a sort of trademark or a patent given to the products which are indigenous to a community in a particular geographical region. The GI registration acts as a certificate that the product is made by traditional methods and possesses certain qualities specific to the area and the community.

“We have written to JKTPO asking them to supplement our GI promotion campaign. I need funds for the campaign overseas,” said Shah.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said GI awareness holds a key to boosting exports. “There is a need for an awareness campaign. We need to make people aware of what GI means and how is it making a difference. The government should chip in and launch the campaign,” said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, president of KCCI.

Official figures reveal Kashmiri shawls account for 40 percent of total handicraft exports from Kashmir. Last month when famed Pashmina shawls were gifted to thousands of VIP guests during the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Official data reveal that Kashmir handicraft exports are on an upward trajectory. Official figures reveal that handcrafts worth Rs 375.97 crore have been exported from April- September 2022. Of which shawls and rumals worth Rs 186.45 crore were exported to different countries. It was followed by carpets with exports touching Rs 91.08 crore.

Likewise paper machie worth Rs 3.38 crore; chain stitch, and crewel worth Rs 65.13 crore, and wood carving worth Rs 1.75 crore were exported in the last two quarters. Other handcraft products worth Rs 28.18 crore were also exported during that period.

In 2021-22, handicrafts products worth 563.13 crore were exported to different markets. Carpets topped the list with exports touching Rs 251.06 crore. It was followed by shawls and rumals with exports touching Rs 165.98 crore.

Likewise, paper machie worth Rs 13.25 crore, chain stitch and crewel worth Rs 79.56 crore, and wood carving worth Rs 4.20 crore were exported in the last two quarters. Other handcraft products worth Rs 49.08 crore were also exported in the last fiscal.__GK News