Virtual expos revive UP carpet industry with orders worth Rs 250 crore

9 months ago 28
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Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown made it impossible both for handmade carpet exporters of Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh and overseas buyers to travel earlier this year and thereby hit this industry hard before two virtual expositions brought the much-needed succour in form of orders worth Rs 250 crore from foreign buyers.

“The pandemic badly hit carpet export due to which there was an extremely depressing scenario in the carpet industry. There were no orders from foreign buyers from February till mid-August this year. Carpet manufacturers, exporters, workers and weavers all were upset due to it,” says Siddhnath Singh, chairman, carpet export promotion council (CEPC), which had organised the virtual exhibitions.

“In July, the carpet manufacturers suggested an international virtual exhibition to draw foreign buyers to get the industry going. Thereafter, the first ever international virtual carpet expo was held from August 21 to August 26,” he adds.

“Nearly 365 overseas buyers from 61 countries and 191 buying representatives from across the world visited the virtual carpet expo and evinced interest in handmade carpets and floor coverings. In fact, the virtual expo infused fresh life into the carpet industry,” Singh further says.

Overwhelmed by the response, the CEPC organised a second international virtual carpet expo-cum-international buyers/sellers meet from September 29 to October 1 with special focus on Oceania markets. The second exhibition also received an overwhelming response.

Oceania is the geographic name for the region made up of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and several other island nations in the surrounding area.

The buyers-sellers’ meet has helped bridge the gap between Indian handmade carpet products and their seekers across the globe in the post pandemic period, Singh said.

India exports carpets worth about Rs 12,000 crore annually. Bhadohi and its neighbouring districts, including Mirzapur, Varanasi and certain pockets of Chandauli, together make it a carpet hub that accounts for Rs 7,000 crore worth of exports, says the CEPC data.

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As per Singh, the virtual exhibitions have emerged as a potential platform for carpet export promotion. Echoing a similar view, senior CEPC member and a carpet manufacturer Umesh Gupta says, “There has been around 10 per cent increase in the business ever since the first exhibition took place in August.”

“Covid-19 has changed the world forever. Carpet industry and business sector are no exception. International buyers cannot come and exporters cannot visit foreign lands to showcase their products. Under such circumstances, the virtual platform has proved to be a boon for us. We exhibited both handmade and factory manufactured carpets in the virtual expos,” adds Gupta, who has received more than 10 orders from the international buyers.

Alpa Mewawala, a Bhadohi-based carpet exporter, says, “The virtual expo was a pretty good experience. Several international buyers watched and inquired about the carpets. Of them, five placed orders including two each from Sweden and Germany and one from the USA. Plus, potential international buyers inquire about our products almost daily.”

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Bhadohi and adjoining areas are known as one of the biggest carpet hubs of India. This hub generates direct and indirect employment for about 10 lakh people, including over three lakh weavers. Among the carpet weavers, over 50% are women.

Buoyed by the overwhelming response, the CEPC has decided to organise four more international virtual carpet exhibitions in the next two months.

Of them, two exhibitions, including one each for Canada and Latin American countries, will be held in November and one each for Gulf countries and Europe will be held in December.

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