The state Self Help Groups department has taken an initiative to link artisans from rural parts of Bengal with the international market to let them sell their produce at the right price. Thus it would help them come out of financial estrangement.
Sadhan Pande, the state Self Help Group and Consumer Affairs minister, said that to fulfill Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dream to make Bengal into ‘Biswa Bangla’, it is absolutely necessary to sell the products of the artisans in the international market. This will fetch money for them, making them self reliant and will also bring global recognition for Bengal’s handicrafts.
Pande said that to weed “torture of middlemen”, attempts have been made to link artisans directly with the exporters who would display their products in big shopping malls abroad.
It may be mentioned that Bengal handicrafts have earned tremendous respect in European countries like England, Germany, France and Italy. It is popular in vast areas of America, South America, Brazil and South Africa.
The linking between the exporters and artisans will start from Sabala Mela and the process will go on throughout the year. The department has invited exporters from different regions.
The target is to sell the products prepared by the women from the grass-root level in Bengal through malls in Dubai, Singapore and neighbouring countries. The exporters will directly buy the produces from artisans and keep exporting to the shops in the malls.
Middlemen operate in three levels in between artisans and exporters. Thus, artisans are not getting the money an exporter is giving for a product. On the other hand, the middlemen are making huge profits after procuring the produce from the artisans at a bare minimum price.
Representatives of different countries in Kolkata have also been invited to visit Sabala Mela that would begin at Salt Lake Central Park from December 2, said Pande adding that the 10-day long state level Sabala Mela provides a platform to the artisans to showcase their products. Sabala Mela is also organised in every district and two such fairs take place in districts which are geographically bigger in area.
Besides taking steps to create a market for handicraft goods prepared by the artisans in Bengal in the international market, initiatives have also been taken to make the produce easily available in other parts of the country as well.