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Manipur reed makes a trade mark

Kauna products find a market online

By Abdul Gani in Guwahati
  • Published 10.03.19, 1:04 AM
  • Updated 10.03.19, 1:04 AM
  • a min read
Women make baskets from Kauna reeds in Manipur. The Telegraph picture

Kauna reed products made by local artisans of Manipur and other states of the region have been put up for sale through online platforms like Amazon and others under the livelihood propulsion and support services incubated by the Centre for Micro-finance and Livelihood (CML), an associate organisation of Tata Trusts.

Kauna is the local name for a water reed or rush belonging to the family Cyperaceae. It grows extensively in the wetlands and marshlands of Manipur and other northeastern states.

Its products, put up for sale since last year, have received a good response. “The service was incorporated to create a market linked eco-system by playing the role of a value enhancer as well as an accelerator in the areas of handloom, handicraft and other social enterprise. At present, it is building links (online and otherwise) for various handicraft and agri-allied initiatives in the Northeast,” Rajashree Das of CML Tata Trusts told The Telegraph. Since May 2018 the service has generated business worth Rs 13,00,000.

Kauna products have received orders worth Rs 1,75,000 since May last year.

The final product on Amazon.
The final product on Amazon. Amazon

The service, in collaboration with Exim Bank, has conducted workshops for kauna artisans for product diversification and product design through experts from the National Institute of Design and other reputed design institutions and establishments. So far, 50 artisans have been trained in three batches under this programme, Das said.

Various products like bags, baskets and purses made by local kauna artisans have been released on Amazon and, among others, for sale.

The Organisation for Development of Economic and Self Help (Odesh) was established in 2001 and works with the kauna artisans. Tata Trusts started funding Odesh in 2013-14 for the design workshops.

Odesh identified the target clusters in Khangabok in Thoubal district and surrounding villages. The livelihood propulsion and support services are also creating market linkages for handloom products from various Tata Trusts-supported clusters in Dhemaji and Chhaygaon in Assam.