Director Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah, chaired a webinar discussing issues with the stake holders related to pashmina and its future prospectus . The webinar was held in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Jammu and Kashmir chapter.
In his opening remarks, Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir informed that webinar has been organized with a view to deliberate on the challenges faced in the Pashmia sector that is serving a very large sector of artisans , crafts persons , Handicraft exporters and women artisans.
Issues and concerns from experts and stakeholders in pashmina industry were flagged during the webinar. The participants made suggestions on the long term and short term measures that the industry and the Governmental agencies need to take to promote handspun and handmade pashmina products and to meet the challenge of machine made products which are encroaching on the livelihoods of the genuine artisans, besides robbing Kashmir of a cultural industry.
The Convener of INTACH Saleem Beg stressed that a road map be chalked for the Pashmina industry for saving this traditional industry from the onslaught of machines and other practices that have been impacting this sector. He stressed that the GI indication secured for Pashmina has to be followed up with promotional and regulatory measures so that the tagging restores the identity of pashmina and link it to the local industry.
Convenor stressed that the Department should engage in a professional exercise to establish a data. The CEO of the pashmina.com , Varun Kumar stated that the export of pashmina is hampered as Nepal has been able to secure exclusive rights on pashmia exports and obtain registration and the right of import in American market. He stated that this is a trade mark linked issue and the industry has to engage in a dialogue with international trade regulating bodies so that the right of export of pashmina is restored to Kashmir. In addition, the manpower needs to be increased and the GI tagging at Pashmina Testing Quality Control Certification (PTQCC) strengthened deploying additional manpower.
Ghulam Mohi-u- Din Reshi, Member KCCI, that has substantial spread at supply and production of Pashmina, raised the concern that people associated with spinning of pashmina, mostly female folk, need to be given financial security and the Government has to take a lead in this direction. He suggested the Governmental intervention at some production stages will help in increasing the handspun yarn supply .
Mujtaba Kadri, founder and export House, Me & Kashmir, while stressing that the Craft and Craftsmen related to pashmina has to be promoted and in this direction the stages involved in the production of pashmina products should be sustainable so that Kashmir pashmina not only survives but also competes with others like that of Nepal and China. He pointed to the disadvantage of Kashmir pashmina compared to Nepal due to the duty relief that Nepal enjoys in the export market.
During the course of webinar, the discussion on the production stages viz a viz weaving and spining stages were also highlighted and the participants made suggestions regarding introduction of innovative measures to enhance quality of pashmina.
Other participants in the webinar were Ms. Amina Asad, Chief Designer School of Designs Srinagar, Omar Khan Consultant Urban Development, Suhail Arif Consultant PwC, Dr. Babar Afzal Pashmina Artist, Amina Asad, the Chief Designer of the Department of handicrafts who too put forth her suggestions including holding of such webniras in future also.
While thanking all the participants, the Director Handicrafts and Handlooms informed that the Department has already taken initiatives on brand promotion of GI tag labels and circulating the same on different social media platforms through short films and promo videos and campaigning through social media management agencies and consultants about Handicraft and Handloom sector . The Director informed that tenders for various such works have been floated and are in their final stages. The Director assured that the department shall follow up on the suggestions and continue the deliberations with the stake holders and professional agencies and keenly follow on the issues that have been raised during the webinar.