Along with the artistry and prolificity of weavers, the Assam handloom industry demonstrates the richness and diversity of Assamese culture. With over a million people directly involved in the production, the handloom industry is one of the largest employment providers for the rural population in Assam after agriculture. Assam handloom and handicraft products are known for their unique designs and exclusivity.
The industry has strong infrastructure, with more than 13 lakhs looms of varied designs and construction, indicating significant production capacity.
Products such as muga, eri and mulberry silk have good demand in world markets as was evident in the national and international fairs organised by AGMC on a regular basis.
There is potential for handloom exports from Assam as the United States of America is a major importer of these products.
Key Markets and Export Destinations
The export of handloom products from India stood at US$ 360.02 million in FY2015-16.
In 2015–16, the US was the major importer of Indian handloom products, with estimated purchases of US$ 106.13 million, followed by the UK and UAE at US$ 22.42 million and US$ 19.42 million, respectively. Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Netherlands, and Australia were some other export destinations.
During 2015-16, export of fabrics stood at US$ 35.34 million, floor coverings stood at US$ 125.27 million, clothing accessories stood at US$ 25.54 million, and made-ups stood at US$ 173.88 million.
The Handloom Export Promotion Council
The Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC) is a statutory body constituted under the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, to promote the export of all handloom’s products such as fabrics, home furnishings, carpets and floor coverings. HEPC was constituted in 1965 with 65 members, and its present membership is about 2,000.