Workshops on Market Strategies and Product Design for Pine Needles and Bamboo -based Craft in Himachal Pradesh

19 Nov, 2023

Nature-based enterprises led by women can play a crucial role in supporting rural livelihood diversification and strengthening resilience in the face of a rapidly changing climate. Pine needles and bamboo -based crafts are two such nature-based products which have been taken up by the ‘Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystem Services’ (FES) for development with forest fringe and forest dependent communities in Himachal Pradesh. The project, with support from Ecociate, an agency specialised in developing markets for sustainable products is engaged in identifying potential markets, developing market strategies, strengthening community institutions around production, and creating market linkages.

The project facilitated market linkages for a group of local women previously trained in pine needles– based craft in the Pathrevi Village of District Mandi. A one-day workshop was organised for 20 artisans from Pathrevi on 19 November 2023. The workshop focused on discussions regarding the current market scenario, proposed market strategies, the formation of a Producer Group and exploration of advanced product designs. Based on the experiences from two cycles of orders in 2023 and expressing their future intent for larger orders, the women artisans decided to establish the ‘Dev Bhumi Pathrevi Producer Group’. They formulated their resolutions, rules and appointed office bearers. Over the next few months, the group will be connected to a network of such active groups in Himachal Pradesh, handling substantial orders, benefitting from peer-to-peer exchange and receiving advanced training for product enhancement.

Owing to the inherent versatility of bamboo and its existing indigenous usage, bamboo-based craft has been selected as an alternative livelihood option for communities engaged in its unorganised utilisation in a cluster of villages around Shahpur in Kangra district. A one-day workshop was held with 22 bamboo artisans at the Appropriate Technology Centre (ATC) in ITI Shahpur, Kangra on 21 November. The market scenario for bamboo products and gaps in current production approaches were discussed in the context of competition with products from the north-eastern region of India. The participants emphasised the need to engage and train the youth for the continuity and evolution of traditional bamboo weaving practices. Modalities for setting up and operating a bamboo material hub and workshop at the ATC, equipped with tools and machinery for use by artisans were deliberated upon along with the proposal for training master trainers.

Members of the women-led Dev Bhumi Pathrevi Producer Group | © GIZ/Kunal Bharat

Workshop with local artisans on market strategies and product design for pine needles-based craft in Pathrevi village, Karsog, Mandi district | © GIZ/Kunal Bharat

Workshop with local bamboo artisans on market strategies and product design for bamboo-based craft at the ATC Shahpur, Kangra district | © GIZ India