‘Int’l Buyer-Seller Meet at Srinagar proves damp squib’
Sellers find few foreign buyers
Srinagar, May 16: Contrary to the claims of its organisers, the stall holders at the 4th International Buyer-Seller Meet at SKICC, here today said the event has proved “damp squib” and left them “dejected.”
“We had high expectation from the meet, but poor response from the buyers disappointed us,” they told Greater Kashmir.
The stall holders said there were only few international buyers at the meet, “who too did not purchase much from us.”
A stall owner wishing not to be named said: “I wasted Rs 15,000 on rent for the stall. I have not sold anything for the three days.”
He suggested that it was the responsibility of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the organizers of the meet, to bring international buyers.
“The chamber made us to believe that around 65 foreign buyers will be coming. But not more than 20 had come,” the stall holders said.
“It is wastage of money and time. There are no buyers from countries like Australia, England, and other well off states. The buyers that KCCI had brought here are not high-end parties who can afford to purchase handicraft items showcased in the meet,” the stall holders said.
They alleged that it is a kind of free trip to have been arranged by the KCCI for the buyers of “little worth.”
The stall holders said the papier machie and copperware stalls did not sell any item during the meet.
Pertinently, the JK Bank exchange counter at the Meet confirmed that sales to the tune of only Rs 16 lakh were recorded till 3 pm on Wednesday, the concluding day.
Foreign buyers speak
However, the foreign buyers at the Meet had a different take on the subject. Kristy Juda, a buyer from USA said: “It is great opportunity for buyers and sellers to interact with each other. These kinds of interaction should also be facilitated in future.”
She said: “I am also doing marketing for Kashmiri handicraft items in the US and it has got good potential to attract foreign buyers.”
Cynthia Anderson from America who is a member of foreign buyers group said: “I was very much impressed by the handicraft items being showcased here. I have travelled to different parts of the country but have never seen such beautiful handmade items.”
“I want to see other handicraft items outside the Meet, but the KCCI people don’t allow us to move to other showrooms in Srinagar. We were being asked to stay at least four hours a day in the hall in which buyer-seller meet is going on,” Anderson said, adding that she wanted to come again and visit other places and explore the beauty of the Valley.
Muhammad Ismail Bucha from Greece said: “Kashmiri handicraft items are exceptional, they are the best in the world.”
Bucha added: “But it was congested interaction; they need to bring more sellers and install more stalls in order to provide different variety of items to them.”
Lanky, a foreign buyer said: “I have purchased few shawls and other items, I like the design that the craftsmen and artisans have put in making these beautiful items.”
Craftsmen, artisans say
The artisans said they hardly saw any foreign buyer visiting them. “It was very disheartening that hardly any buyer showed interest in witnessing the live demonstrations that we were asked by the KCCI to do.”
“We are the real persons who toil to make the handicraft items. But at the same time we are being ignored,” an artisan said.
He said even some people where not aware that live demonstration by the artisans and craftsmen were going on.
President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Abdul Hamid Punjabi said the Meet evoked “tremendous response from the foreign buyers.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Punjabi said: “We are happy with the way things have unfolded. Response from the foreign buyers is better as compared to previous meets and we are hopeful their participation shall continue to increase in years to come.”
Punjabi said: “Aim of organizing such meets is to establish close contact between buyers and sellers. It provides platform for our sellers to interact with foreign buyers and know their opinion regarding designs and many other things.”
The three-day meet concluded today.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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