India – Silk exports decline

In one of the new casualties of the global financial slowdown, the Indian silk industry, which has fair SME-presence, has registered an export decline of 10% from Rs 3,178 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 2,871 crore during 2009-10. Although the Union Textile Ministry had set a target of Rs 4,150 crore for the last financial year, according to the Central Silk Board (CSB) only 67% of the target could be achieved.
In this context, Pankaj Bothra, owner of Maitri, a small-sized unit in Ahmedabad which manufactures and exports silk garments, said, “There has definitely been a decline in export of silk garments to the US which can be attributed to the fact that American consumers are not spending a lot on lifestyle products or luxury fabrics or apparels these days.”
Incidentally, America’s inclination towards Chinese silk products is also being attributed as one of the major reasons behind the decline in silk exports. A major share of India’s silk exports is contributed by the SME sector with products such as natural silk yarn, fabrics, readymade garments, silk carpet and silk waste.
“There has also been a decline in silk exports to Eastern European countries. Besides the global financial slowdown, the frequent currency fluctuations are also restricting silk export to these countries,” said Rajesh Nahar, owner of Cbazaar, a mid-sized unit in Chennai which manufactures, supplies and exports ladies garments.
Notably, India’s silk export to countries such as Hong Kong, the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain had also declined during 2009-10, which reflects the poor performance of Indian silk-export based SMEs in these countries. Under the circumstances, the Textile Ministry’s prediction last year that silk exports would reach Rs 7,000 crore by 2012 is unlikely to materialise.