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Manipur opens online store on Amazon, makes unique handicraft easily available to country

The e-commerce giant has already roped in several states, government bodies to display India’s heritage, as well as digitise small businesses.

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New Delhi: E-commerce giant Amazon and the Manipur government Monday launched the Panthoibi Emporium, an online platform for the display and sale of the state’s handloom and handicraft.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the online store was signed Monday, amid hopes that this initiative would benefit nearly 300,000 artisans, weavers and members of tribal communities in the state.

Operating under the patronage of the Directorate of Handlooms & Textiles, the Panthoibi Emporium is a part of the Manipur Handloom & Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (MHHDCL), a government enterprise to aid the growth of local artisans.

A wide variety of unique and handcrafted products from Manipur is now accessible to customers across the country. The Panthoibi Emporium’s marketplace on includes handwoven clothes, handcrafted hats and bags, terracotta products as well as Kauna craft — a handicraft unique to Manipur which uses Kauna wood or water reed to create products like baskets, wallets and bags.

Manipuri Rani Phee, a handwoven shawl made of silk, can also be found on the website. Additionally, food items typical to Manipur, which include black rice, forest forage teas, GI-tagged chilli, lemon and oranges, are for sale as well.

The Panthoibi Emporium has been launched under the Amazon Karigar programme, which aims to bring to the forefront India’s rich handicraft heritage. It also helps small and medium scale businesses showcase handmade products from local artisans across the country.

Director of Selling Partner Services of Amazon India, Sumit Sahay, said the programme aims to digitise 10 million small enterprises by 2025.

Since its launch in 2016, Amazon has had similar collaborations with 30 government emporiums, and seven government organisations, and included over 3,700 master weavers, co-operatives, artisans and regional apex bodies in its online marketplace.

Elangbam Jeeten Singh, the Managing Director of MHHDCL, said the collaboration with Amazon would help increase the customer base of these weavers and artisans.

It would also “bring attention to local products from the state that are representative of Manipur’s rich cultural heritage”, he added.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh called the initiative an “important development”, stressing it was imperative “that the e-commerce ecosystem and its key stakeholders work towards enabling more and more small businesses with capacity-building activities”.

Also read: Manipur govt endorsed firm’s bid to transport, use cannabis seeds, flowers & leaves, says report


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