Project to augment incomes of 1500 Meghalaya artisans

GUWAHATI: An Assam NGO in association with the Meghalaya State Skill Development Society (MSSDS) has sought to enhance incomes of 1500 rural handloom artisans of Meghalaya by March 2020 under an Asian Development Bank-funded programme.

Grameen Sahara, the NGO based in Chhaygaon in lower Assam, had entered into an agreement with MSSDS in October last year to train the women from Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills in handloom weaving and textile making and also provide marketing and credit linkage support under the project.

“The training is provided under a sub-component of the ADB-funded “Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya” programme, which seeks to increase incomes of rural youths. So far, 400 women have been trained while the rest would be skilled by November this year,” Sarat Chandra Das, secretary of Grameen Sahara, told The Shillong Times on Sunday.

“Once they start making the products, they will be provided marketing and credit linkage support. The entire process of training, market linkage and income augmentation would be completed by March 2020,” Das said.

The project has been running integrated courses for pre-loom, loom/ weaver and post-loom sub systems. A 26-member team comprising a team leader, trainers, market linkage experts, mobilisers and coordinators is implementing the project.

“A multi-disciplinary approach has been adopted to cater to the needs of the Meghalaya artisans. The course is of 200 hours (one month) duration as the artisans cannot be away from work for a longer period,” he said.

Stringent quality standards are to be adhered to for international markets and the project, keeping this aspect as a priority, focus on enhancing both production capacity and quality of traditional textiles.

“The emphasis is given on quality, value addition, productivity and cost competitiveness. Aspects of e-marketing and order processing are also being covered under this programme,” he said.

“The artisans were earning about Rs 4000 per month prior to the programme. Now, we are looking at ensuring a minimum monthly income of Rs 6000 for 1500 farmers by the end of the 15th month,” Das said.

Towards the end of the project, small producer organisations would be promoted in each district of Meghalaya where they will sell their produces and get the desired market value through proper market linkage.

“So, even after the project period is over they will be able to continue producing and selling their produces and get higher income,” Das said.

It may be mentioned that a MoU was signed with the Meghalaya directorate of sericulture and weaving towards use of infrastructure for imparting training at the district level. Another MoU was signed with Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, Guwahati for assessment of the trained candidates.

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