The SFURTI scheme provides funds for the regeneration of Traditional Industries intending to make traditional artisans competitive and to provide support for their long term sustainability. It also aims at adding more value to the existing craft. And for achieving this, steps are taken for capacity building and skill development of artisans. In this whole scheme, linkages play a very impactful role in the sustainability of the artisans. This article has a detailed view of both forward & backward linkages.

Forward Linkages in SFURTI

Experts believe that market is one of the biggest challenges faced by the clusters. Because the success of any cluster is measured by improvement in wages, employment, working hours of the artisans, turnover, etc. And all these factors are achieved when artisans are able to sell their products in the market. For the maximum sale of the products, the location of the market is also vital. Deciding where to sell the products is very important. It is a very important decision that whether to exhibit the existing products in a new market or new products in the existing market or a new product in a new market. These linkage decisions are vital and are dependent on various factors like the size of the market, market share, demand of the product, etc. Then the quality of the product is decided. This decision depends on the needs of the consumers and the guidelines set by the government.

If the clusters are planning on taking existing products to a new market then they must set the market based on a sample survey. For example, the artisans can create a list of at least 25 customers out of which 4 to 5 are willing to buy the products. If they want to sell a new product in an existing market then they should first introduce the new product in the market and then figure out who all are willing to buy it. The market survey plays a vital role in decision making because if the artisans don’t do that, they may end up making irrelevant products.

Due to Covid-19 Pandemic, artisans are facing unprecedented challenges while promoting the product. To providing them with more linkage options and opportunities, the Ministry and COHANDS is planning to provide the clusters with E-commerce websites too.

Before linking with the E-commerce portal, there are three aspects that artisans should be taking care of:

  • Do they have a sufficient supply of the product? Because if the artisans are not able to fulfill the demand then the image of the organization will get affected.
  • Are they adequately aware of all the technicalities? They must have proper registration, PAN card, GST number, etc. A lot of different portals ask for various types of documents for registration.
  • Do they have proper knowledge about the pricing policy? because the product price cannot be the same on the portal as it is for the local market. Each website demands for different percentage of profit margin. So the pricing policy is set accordingly.

For E-Commerce portals, professional photographs and beautiful presentation of the product is also very important because these are the elements that attract the consumers and help your art in standing out. So selling products online is very competitive because this is a different type of world, but is also full of opportunities.

Important aspects of Forward Linkages

  • Planning and initial market survey
  • Approximate Price Range
  • The different Price range for different products

Backward Linkage

Backward linkage comprises of missionary suppliers, raw material providers and service providers. When we talk about raw materials or missionary suppliers, we have to find out new mechanisms through which we can achieve up-gradation. The biggest issue faced by most of the artisans is that their product’s USP is that they are handmade, so it becomes very difficult to find out some steps in the process that can be accomplished with the usage of technology. It must be kept in mind that these products are produced through artisanal techniques yet the mechanism can be upgraded so that the clusters can compete with the industry products too.

As far as when raw material is concerned, every cluster needs a lot of raw materials. But providing all sort of raw material to all the clusters will be a bit risky for new ventures. So if your cluster requires three types of raw materials, then your focus must be on one type of material that is very important for production. For example, if your cluster is a handloom one, then silk and thread are the most important raw material so you must primarily focus on providing that.

Conclusion

Now that we have taken a look at how linkages work and how they are vital for the success of an artisan cluster, we can start going in-depth on how to achieve the goals in both forward and backward linkage processes as an IA and as a TA as well. For additional information on SFURTI and its elements, you can browse our knowledge base and follow us on Facebook.