Women will always be at the core of Agarbathi Industry, says AIAMA
New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI-NewsVoir): Agarbathi industry has been growing many folds since its inception and has evolved into a vibrant cottage industry over the years. The driving force for this growth has been various aspects like religious rituals and festivals, increased inclination towards meditation and yoga, which has made the usage of agarbathi an important aspect in everyday lives. The history and tradition of burning incense sticks and dashanga goes back to thousands of years and has been a part of every civilization. Incense or agarbathi was used as an object of trade in ancient times as they had a special importance during religious ceremonies. Its aesthetic appeal has resulted in its wide usage everywhere across the globe. With changing times, agarbathi has also changed its form owing to reasons like advanced technology, diverse underlying culture, and emerging trends in usage. "Agarbathi industry employs over 20 lakh people in the country out of which 80% of them being women. Karnataka state alone employees nearly half the numbers. The women associated are engaged in manufacturing and packaging of incense sticks which has helped increase their financial stability. With the Indian festive season nearing in a months' time, we foresee a surge in demand for the sector and to address the same AIAMA members across regions are working towards training more and more women and rural population in agarbathi making," said AIAMA (All India Agarbathi Manufacturers Association), Sarath Babu. Agarbathi is a labour-intensive industry with each incense stick being handcrafted, predominantly by women workers. Karnataka alone employees around 10 lakh women for various segments of agarbathi making including rolling, packaging and bamboo processing. The industry has long been benefiting from this resource. In the past few years, there has been a rise in training for activities like agarbathi manufacturing that has promoted economic independence, and employment for a large number of people, especially women seeking economic independence. In the last three years, the Indian agarbathi industry has witnessed immense growth in both exports and domestic demand. Moreover, being an export oriented industry; agarbathi export industry has grown at a CAGR of 15% in the past four years. The total market is expected to grow exponentially and reach INR 12,000 crore in the next five years.