NABARD's UMANG 2k22 brings together artisans, women groups and FPOs from 25 states
Over hundred craftsmith and farmers' organisations from across the country are participating in a national level exhibition-cum-sale organised by the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development in Bhopal to sell their products directly to the customers. The event is on till October 22.
Satish Malviya 20 Oct 2022 10:40 AM GMT
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
Rameshwar Baghel, a 57-year-old craftsmith from Bastar, has mastered the craft of moulding molten metals into beautiful figurines. For almost four decades now, he has been practising the world famous tribal Dhokra (Dokra) art of Chhattisgarh, a metal casted art that uses the ancient lost-wax casting technique.
Since October 14, the craftsmith is in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, to participate in a national exhibition 'UMANG-2k22', a national level exhibition-cum-sale at Haat Bazaar, where artisans, self-help groups (SHGs) and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) from 25 states have come to directly sell their products.
"It is pradarshini [exhibitions] like these which are a boon to kalakaar [artists] like us. Due to the removal of the bichauliya [traders], we end up getting far better profits for our products," Baghel told Gaon Connection.
NABARD came up with the idea of organising such exhibitions in 2018 but for the last two years, these events were suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the event has been organised at a large scale to support artisans and creators who have suffered heavy losses due to the pandemic.
Sixty-six-year-old Radhamani Devi has travelled more than 2,400 kilometres from her village in Manipur in northeast India to come to Bhopal to participate in UMANG 2k22.
"Ours is a women-run self-help group and consists of women who make handloom products in the rural parts of the Imphal district in Manipur. Corona hit our group like a death knell. Had it not been for NABARD's help, we wouldn't have been able to get back on our feet," Devi told Gaon Connection.
"Not only did it offer financial aid but also provided us opportunities to sell our products without the involvement of middlemen," the leader of the SHG added. Radhamani Devi's SHG makes products such as bags, shawls, and decorative items.
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Talking about the event, Nirupam Mehrotra, the chief general manager of NABARD, Madhya Pradesh, informed Gaon Connection that the main aim of the national event was to encourage the patrons of the indigenous crafts to directly approach their creators without the involvement of any middlemen.
"This way, not only will the creators get better profits but their interaction with the customers will enable them to incorporate the expectations of the market and modify their products accordingly," Mehrotra said.
Farmers invited to trade exhibition
What is unique about this year's NABARD exhibition is that FPOs have been invited to participate in it.
"In the coming years, FPOs will be vital in the rural economy. The limitations in India's agricultural ecosystem are largely because of the absence of rural marketing. Not only are FPOs invited to participate in UMANG 2k22 but we are also organising workshops to train farmers to explore offshore markets for their produce and products. The marketing of their products abroad will help them earn better incomes," Mehrotra told Gaon Connection.
Ashish Mishra, one of the representatives of a Rewa-based FPO agreed with Mehrotra's remarks on the need to boost farmers' organisations in the country.
"Our products have to compete with wealthy multinational companies in the international markets. The training that we are receiving here in this exhibition will definitely help us to market our products better and understand the dynamics of agri-trade," he said.
Umang Sridhar, the founder of a small textile company in Bhopal, resonated with Mishra's comments.
"Such fairs are an excellent opportunity for local industries to get the much needed insight and information to help them excel in their businesses. Nowadays, the customer not only wants to buy local but also seeks to know about the craftsperson who made the product," she said. "Umang 2k22 has helped in connecting the patrons of local art with the artists. These interactions between the patrons and the artists are indeed beautiful," she added.
Apart from locally sourced products, UMANG 2k22 is also providing a platform to folk artists to promote traditional dance forms.
If you happen to be in Bhopal, do visit UMANG 2k22 at Haat Bazaar till October 22, 20220.