In continuation to my previous blog on 'Sustenance - what impacts it?', I've put down my views on how various challenges to sustenance such as high prices, low inputs on design & production processes etc can be tackled by various players in the value chain.
The government has to act quickly and save these endangered art forms by creating & developing markets (state handloom & handicraft corporations/ exhibitions/ fairs/ Trade shows) for these. It in turn has to buy from these artisans ensuring fair remuneration & livelihood generation.
It has to actively employ qualified designers to train of artisans in product design development and innovation. Further, it needs to encourage start ups & young enterpreneurs in the handicraft sector to build capacity by sanctioning financial help.
Middlemen who depend on this sector, need to ensure margins are profitable at the same time reasonable so that the end price is affordable & products continue to be relevant.
The payment terms to the artisans have to be fair with provisions for advance payment to the artisans, help with regards to raw material sourcing, training in quality improvement & control, design inputs & finally a fair final price for the articles.
Artisans will also first and foremost need to be more open to inputs on training & willing to accept changes in designs from traditional to contemporary as well as production methods that are technically superior with low rejection rates.
Wherever possible they will need to move out of their comfort zones and look for marketing possibilities.
They will also need to be more assertive in their negotiations with buyers & middlemen.
And finally what can we as consumers do?
We can and should continue to support these arts & crafts by being patrons, taking pride in our culture and supporting fair trade by agreeing to pay a fair price for these products.