With the pandemic washing away major festival seasons, handloom weavers in Ernakulam, mostly represented by those at Chendamangalam in Paravur taluk, are hopeful that the upcoming Vishu season will prop up their fortunes.
“We are hopeful that the rebate for handloom products in the first fortnight of the season will help weavers in a big way,” said T.S. Baby of Handloom Cooperative 3478 at Paravur on Wednesday.
He added that there were around 800 weavers in the taluk under 13 cooperatives, and they had not been able to sell products due to pandemic restrictions. The stock is worth around ₹7 crore, and primary weavers’ cooperatives will be able to make headway provided it is sold out.
Mr. Baby also said that the special rebate announced by the government for the Vishu season would help weavers sell out at least a portion of the stock. He recalled that the Chela Edit, a curated exhibition of products from Chendamangalam handloom cooperatives under the sponsorship of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), had helped weavers immensely. The event had attracted substantial crowd.
Meanwhile, Handloom Association State secretary A.V. Babu said that over 18,000 weavers working under 360 cooperatives too were hopeful of earning returns from the sale of uniform for schoolchildren under a State government programme.
At present, there is a stock of around 57 lakh metres of clothing materials, as they could not be sold during the 2021-22 scholastic year. However, production has resumed with the 2022-23 year in mind, he added.
The uniform business can grow up to ₹150 crore and will be a major source of income and support for weavers, he said.