SRINAGAR: Ukraine war and Covid resurgence notwithstanding, Kashmir handicraft exports have doubled in the last fiscal.
Official data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor revealed that handicrafts worth Rs. 1116.37 crore were exported in FY 2022-23 against Rs. 563.13 Crore in FY 2021-22
Shawl exports have recorded the highest increase. Against Rs 165.98 crore in 2021-22, the shawls worth Rs 424.20 were exported in the last fiscal. While. Likewise, the carpets recorded Rs.106.15 crore increase. Against Rs 251.05 crore in 2021-22, the carpets worth Rs 357.21 crore were exported in 2022-23.
Chain stitch recorded a huge jump in exports. Against Rs 79.56 crore in 2021-22, the chain stitch exports hit Rs 284.46 crore in the last fiscal.
However, there has also been a slight decrease in the exports of Papier Machie. Against Rs 13.25 crore in 2021-22, the exports fell to Rs 8.51 crore last fiscal.
“Having witnessed a nosedive since 2014, the Kashmir handicrafts and handlooms sector has shown significant growth. It is envisaged that the sector will keep growing in the coming years,” said an officer.
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. Of which carpets worth Rs 121.15 crore were exported to different countries.
Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to rope in e-commerce giants to further boost export and end the middlemen menace in the sector.
“In its endeavor to further increase exports in the coming years, the department is also developing e-commerce platforms and supporting startups to create different market channels for Handicraft and Handloom products in addition to focusing on the various schemes brought up through the intervention of the Handicraft and Handloom policy,” said an official note.
Exporters said things were looking good for the handicrafts sector. However, the recession in Europe has again cast dark shadows on the trade. “We have been asked to keep orders on hold because of the recession,” said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, former president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry.