Bar codes for Indian handicrafts

Wooden handicrafts from India sold abroad will soon have to carry unique bar codes with details of the wood used. Somebody buying a decorative wooden elephant or a wooden handicraft that is made in India will be able to know the origin as well as history of the wood used to make that piece.

The Economic Times reported recently that the initiative of the Union textiles ministry aims at building confidence among overseas consumers on legal harvesting of trees.

“In six months, we will do the web bar-coding of wood products. Consumers will know from which tree it has come and how harvesting was done. This will build confidence in overseas buyers,” Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director of the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), was quoted as saying.

This bar code will be in addition to the Vriksh certification that the government issues on due diligence adopted by exporters in procuring wood from legal sources for manufacturing handicraft articles and transporting them.

The Vriksh shipment certificate is a standard norm designed to allow companies to avoid trading in illegally harvested wood. The certificate is required by all categories of exporters who ship goods containing sheesham or rosewood from India.

The EPCH also issues Vriksh certificates. Sheesham products accounted for nearly 70% of exports.

Once implemented, the move to bar-code wood products will make India the only country after Australia to put a tracing system in place for timber.

The move follows enactment of tough laws against illegally harvested timber by several countries to deal with the globally widespread illegal logging.

Exports of wooden handicrafts from India stood at Rs 2,187.82 crore in the April-September period in 2016, up from from Rs 1,916.95 crore a year ago.

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