JK faces sharp decline in exports
Silk Route Consulting Group Sunday organised a workshop where policymakers, politicians and entrepreneurs tried to find out the reasons for "deteriorating export-import ratio" of Jammu and Kashmir.
The speakers at the workshop said the decline in export from the state has become a serious problem as export-import ratio has gone down to 1:7 as compared to 1:3 few decades back.
"Exports of handicrafts have particularly seen a large decline post 2014-floods as the state economy has shrunk more than one per cent 2014-1.5," they said.
The workshop organised at Hotel Royal Batoo, Khayam Road, discussed in detail the legacy, opportunity and challenges of the export economy of the state.
Imtran Murtaza, a young entrepreneur, who runs Agrino Foods said that reclaiming "exports needs an enabling environment at bureaucracy level."
"On one side we face hurdles at official level, be it registration process, quality certification or other such official procedure and on the other side we have serious infrastructure issues," Murtaza said.
Muheet Mehraj, co-founder Kashmir Box said the biggest hurdle Kashmir exporters face is that they have to go through intermediaries, which eats up most of the profits without adding any value to brand Kashmir.
Kashif Khan, founder of My Rahat portal said that Kashmir lacks any quality control certification, branding board and therefore, people associated with the export need to look outside for such certifications.
Junaid Azim Mattu, state spokesperson of National Conference, said Kashmir needs to move ahead of legacy.
"We have a name, Kashmir sells as a brand but we need to innovate things demanded by present day consumers. Our economy needs to be rationalised as per present day market," Mattu said, adding, that the capital deficiency "is the issue which needs to be resolved through present day solutions like angel investors, venture capitalists."
Nayeem Akhtar, former Education Minister and Chief Spokesperson of PDP said, to boost entrepreneurship in J&K, focus needs to be put on the education, which will encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and self-employment rather than running after government jobs.
Imran Khaki, youth general secretary of JKPDP focused on the rural economy and industrial output of rural economy and how it can be present in the global market.
Muhammad Altaf Batoo, owner of Hotel Royal Batoo, said the success of Kashmir business is possible "if we focus on brand Kashmir rather than individual businesses."
"I want to see Kashmir as a destination and not only success of my business. We will achieve individually only if our success is collective," Batoo said.
Sammer Gojwari & Ejaz Ayoub, co-founders of the Silk Route Consulting Group, who conducted the workshop said, "our state don't have any export industrial policy since 1947, despite Kashmir used to be a hub of export business via silk route prior to 1947. Kashmir was connected to central Asia, China, Middle East and beyond for centuries."
They said to promote "our exports we need to refocus on quality standards and economies of scale to cater to larger demand."