India is gearing up for its first-ever hand-polished handicraft boxes and paintings, a move that is likely to boost demand for handicraft products in the country.
The announcement comes after the state government last week signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese manufacturer to produce and distribute handicraft items.
The two countries have been working on joint projects for years and signed an agreement to expand the number of handicraft workshops to 500.
India has about 500,000 handicraft shops, but only 10 percent of them are open.
According to a release by the Ministry of Finance, the first 500 workshops will be inaugurated in the first quarter of 2019.
The hand-paint-and-tape manufacturing and distribution facilities will be located in the state capital, Ahmedabad, and the state’s largest textile production facility, Gurgaon.
The manufacturing and supply of handiccraft items will take place at the state-run workshops.
The ministry said the joint venture will allow the government to boost the quality of handicavess items.
“India is a major source of handicvess items for Chinese buyers, who are increasingly searching for products that are handcrafted and authentic,” said Sushil Sood, director general of the ministry of finance.
“This is also in line with our long-term vision to enhance the quality and uniqueness of Indian handicraft goods.
We expect that the joint ventures will help the government further improve the quality, quality of products, and enhance the customer experience,” he added.
Handicraft goods are mainly used by women in India, especially in rural areas.
The industry is estimated to be worth about $2 billion, according to a 2016 report by the World Bank.
The latest move follows the signing of a memorandum in April between the state and China, which was aimed at enhancing joint ventures between India and China to increase cooperation in the manufacture and sale of handicaves.
China has been making inroads into the Indian handicavestock market for years.
Its imports from India reached $5.4 billion in 2015 and exports were estimated at $12.6 billion, the World Trade Organization reported in September.