Death Throes

Death Throes

The fur industry or more accurately, the fur trade in Kashmir is in its death throes. The reasons are structural, contextual and socio- economic and cultural. Structurally and contextually, many factors in confluence and conjunction together conspire and gel together to render the trade defunct. One is the ban imposed on animal furs and allied themes. The ban , by affecting the supply side naturally impacts the demand side and thus sales and profits of the fur products. This then prices out, to use marketing and economic jargon, producers from the market and impacts negatively the trade. While the ban cannot be questioned given its rationale and import, but then it is not a blanket ban. There are certain categories of animals that are used and allowed for general consumption whose allied products can be used in the fur trade. The ban factor gels into a contextual and socio- economic factor wherein processing of fur products is not only a difficult exercise that requires specialist and specialized expertise but the task and trade itself is looked askance by society. While there is no taboo to the trade, that fact that it is held to be a “ clean” or “ honorable” one is another factor that impinges upon it. There then is the economics of the trade. It appears that the fur trade in Kashmir operated on very basic and rudimentary terms and its demand and then sale was premised on brand association with Kashmir. This “ pull” factor was neither finessed nor developed by the various administrations into a vigorous “push” factor. That is, there was no sophisticated value added to the fur trade products and the “industry” remained misaligned with the changing trends of the industry globally and the tastes of consumers. All these factors render the trade into an almost dead one in its last gasps and death throes. Can the trade be revived is the question? The answer is a qualified maybe. New generation entrepreneurs must be given maximum incentives to be drawn to this trade. The nature and form of these incentives must be economic, financial and marketing related so that anyone interested and wanting to be part of this trade must be aligned with the global supply and value chain of permitted fur products under given constraints. This , indeed, is challenge but it must be met and taken up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.