Mangalagiri weavers craft an impressive range of saris

The dream of nearly 5,000-strong weaver community in this temple town to obtain the Geographical Indication (GI) certificate for their famed saris and fabrics has finally come true after a long wait of over five years.

Local artisans can now literally cash in on the distinct brand identity which the GI certification gives to their craftsmanship.

The Mangalagiri Master Weavers’ Association (MMWA), comprising master weavers and also some cooperative societies, have applied for the GI certification five years ago and have since been eagerly waiting for the global recognition.

They have got a logo designed as required under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act and registered the same with the Department of Handlooms and Textiles.

An impressive range of saris and womens’ dress material are crafted by skilled weavers here for well over 100 years. It is practically impossible to copy their intricate designs and colour patterns, which have still not lost their sheen.

About 10,000 workers are dependent on the local handloom industry and approximately half of them are actual weavers.

The remaining workers are the ones who do value–addition jobs. Monthly production is pegged at roughly Rs. 6 crore and 50 per cent of it is sent to Hyderabad where there is a sustained demand for cotton clothes, which peaks during Dasara and Deepavali.

Mangalagiri cotton textiles are already known in some foreign countries and the GI will provide them the much-needed visibility overseas on a much larger scale.

The intricate designs and quality raw material procured from within and outside the State are the secret of success of the products that take shape here.

The GI will facilitate expansion of their horizon at a time when the handloom garments are facing intense competition from powerlooms.

The GI certification will be given for ‘Mangalagiri saris and fabrics’ and the artisans will henceforth have legal protection from exploitation of the name under the provisions of WTO’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

‘Mangalagiri saris and fabrics’ and `Narayanpet handloom saris are the only items that figure in GI Registry (April 2012-March 2013) of the Intellectual Property Office, Chennai.