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Production, sale of khadi products take a hit across K'taka

Many producers had to take additional marketing activities through societies to sell the goods
Last Updated : 06 February 2023, 23:50 IST

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Production and sales of khadi and allied products in the state have seen a drastic reduction owing to Covid pandemic, as per the data of the Karnataka State Khadi and Village Industries Board.

The industry, which was growing at a rapid rate with a close to 70% increase in production from 2018-19 to 2019-20, was hit by the pandemic and the production came down by nearly 17% during 2019-20 to 2021-2022.

“The industry suffered extensively during the pandemic. The lockdowns and the unavailability of transport facilities made it hard to continue with regular production activities,” said Ganapathi B, a khadi and handloom producer from Ballari.

Yet another producer from Hubballi said that the lack of manpower and a dip in demand for the products had also triggered a reduction in production.

“Workers were scared and it was difficult to address their concerns. Also, the demand went down drastically and many of us decided to halt production since we were not sure if there would be enough buyers,” said Mallesh, another khadi and handloom producer from Hubballi.

Many producers had to take additional marketing activities through societies to sell the goods.

Officials from the khadi board said that they had been trying to support the sector and the industry was slowly recovering.

“We have been providing them assistance with incentives and other government aid. However, the government has also reduced the marketing development assistance (MDA) funds by nearly Rs 20 crore. Since the conditions have returned to normal, the industry is slowly recovering,” said Basavaraju, chief executive officer, Karnataka State Khadi and Village Industries Board.

The production, which was as low as Rs 285 crore in 2021-22 compared to Rs 345 crore in 2019-20, is slowly increasing and the officials estimated that production has reached at least Rs 300 crore during 2022-23.

The month-long ‘Khadi Mela’ organised in Bengaluru is also set to give a boost to the industry.

“The exhibition is happening after a two-year gap and will definitely give a boost to the sector. We are hoping that the sales in the mela will go up to at least Rs 40 crore,” Basavaraju said.

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Published 06 February 2023, 16:11 IST

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