All seems to be finally getting to be well for the handicraft sector. After registering massive slips of 19 per cent in 2007-08 and 41.6 per cent in 2008-09, the export of handicrafts from India has registered an increase of 6.55 per cent during the just ended 2009-10 fiscal year.
According to the provisional data released by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, the exports have gone up to Rs. 8,718.94 crore, as against Rs. 8,183 crore during 2008-09.
In a press release issued here on Saturday, EPCH Chairman, Raj Kumar Malhotra noted that the increase in the export has been across nearly all product categories.
The highest increase was recorded in imitation jewellery exports, where there was a growth of 18.03 per cent. It was followed by woodwares (15.17 per cent), shawls as artware (10.64 per cent), embroidery and crocheted goods (6.12 per cent), zari and zari goods (5.61 per cent), hand printed textiles and scarves (5.6 per cent), and Art metalware (4.88 per cent).
Country-wise, U.S. was the single largest market for the Indian handicrafts during the year, accounting for 29 per cent of the exports. But, as a region, the European Union topped the list, accounting for 40.33 per cent of the exports.
Within the European Union, UK took the lead, buying handicrafts worth Rs. 928 crore from India. It was closely followed by Germany (Rs. 783 crore).
Mr. Malhotra conceded that much more, however, needs to be done to catch up with the momentum achieved by handicrafts exports before the global economic melt down hit the markets for non-essential items like handicrafts.
For several years, Indian handicraft exports had been consistently clocking a growth of 10 per cent per year until 2006-07, when it reached a peak of 17,288 crore only to fall to Rs. 14,012 crore in 2008-09 and subsequently Rs. 8,183 crore in 2009-10 as a result of the global economic problems.
Noting that the Government had been taking several measures to promote handicraft exports, he said the EPCH expected to regain the 10 per cent growth rate this year.