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03-May-2017

Khadi and Village industries notched up sales of over Rs. 50,000 crore for the first time last year. With the government pushing hard for Khadi sales, there is a bumper demand for its products such as honey, soaps, cosmetics, furniture and organic food items, which are produced by village industries, many of which are run by women.

Data collated by Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) showed that during the last financial year, sales of village industries produce, or Gramodyog, grew 24 per cent to just a shade under Rs. 50,000 crore. Meanwhile, khadi products notched up sales of Rs. 2,005 crore, up 33 per cent from Rs. 1,635 crore in 2015-16. It has now set a target of more than doubling khadi sales to Rs. 5,000 crore by 2018-19.

Although the government may have done its bit in promoting khadi and village produce, consumers too seem to be more favourably inclined. The trend is also catching on with consumers abroad. "Earlier, khadi was only preferred by the political class, be it the kurta or the cap," brand expert Harish Bijoor said. "But with consumers increasingly looking for natural products, the organisation is on a roll."

Increasingly, this seems to be turning into an international phenomenon. During a survey in 21 overseas markets, khadi was the most recalled Indian brand, and it is now looking at exports. "Currently, we are not doing direct exports. But we will soon kick it off. It will help make khadi an international brand," KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said.

Industry experts attributed the organisation's success to many domestic and international fashion designers preferring to work with sustainable and natural fabrics. While low production growth was a drag on sales in recent years, during the last fiscal year, khadi output grew by 31 per cent to Rs. 1,396 crore, while village industries saw a 23 per cent rise to Rs. 41,110 crore.

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