Kashmir G20: Handicraft artisans eye global markets

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Pashmina artisans exude hope that the G20 summit in Kashmir will help them gain direct access to the international markets.

“It augers well for the artisan community. We expect that all these delegates will be our ambassadors in their respective countries. It will open new vistas for the artisan community,” Musadiq Shah, Senior Vice-President, Kashmir Pashmina Organization (KPO) told The Kashmir Monitor.

The third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting will be held at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Center (SKICC) from May 22 to 24. The first Working Group meeting was held in February at Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. The second meeting was held from April 1 to 3 in Siliguri, West Bengal.

What has brought smiles to artisans’ faces are reports that delegates may visit handicraft stalls and witness live demonstration of the product making.

“It is after 30 years that foreign delegates are visiting Kashmir. We have heard they will visit the crafts facility. This way, artisans can directly communicate with them. We hope when these delegates will go home, they will open markets for our products,” said Shah.

G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. It represents 85% of the global GDP, 75% of international trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population.

Kashmir will be rolling out the red carpet for the delegates. Besides holding a summit in SKICC, the delegates will also visit Gulmarg. “We are ready to extend help to the government. We can set up stalls within two days. We have also told the authorities that we can also give live demonstration on how the products are made,” said Shah.

More than 14000 Pashmina shawls have been GI-tagged in Kashmir. Thanks to the incentive scheme, more and more shawl weavers and dealers are coming forward to get their products GI-tagged.

Official figures reveal that goods worth Rs 728.99 were exported in the three quarters ending December 2022. Exports of all four quarters of 2021-22 were Rs 563.13 crore. Most of the exports were realized in the third quarter. Figures released by the Department of Handcrafts and Handlooms reveal goods worth Rs 352.02 were exported in the third quarter.__The Kashmir Monitor