garbattis,’ also known as ‘incense sticks,’ are made from aromatic plants and essential oils extracted from plants or animal sources. When lightened, these release a fragrant smoke which finds use in the religious activities, prayers, and therapeutic and aesthetic purposes. Agarbattis have been used since times immemorial as an integral part of Hindu deity worship in India. There are about 10,000 agarbatti manufacturing units in the country including tiny, small and medium, besides another 200 well-established ones having over 50 branded agarbattis. Nearly 12 lakh people are directly or indirectly employed by the industry. India is exporting a wide range of agarbattis or incense sticks that have natural, exotic fragrances extracted from jasmine, sandalwood (chandan) and rose. These fragrances spread the ambience and tranquility. The incense sticks are packaged attractively. The agarbatti industry depends heavily on forest products for raw materials—a natural advantage since nature has bestowed upon it vast expense of forests. Capexcil (formerly known as Basic Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Export Promotion Council), functioning under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and industry, government of India, over the years has been playing an important role in promoting exports of agarbattis from the country. Besides, ITC’s incense sticks business launched as part of its strategic initiative to create multiple drivers of growth in fast moving consumer goods sector (FMCG) leverages the core strengths of the company in marketing and distribution, brand building, supply chain management and paperboard and packaging to offer Indian consumers high-quality agarbattis. The company marketing agarbattis under the ‘Mangaldeep’
BY: G.P. GANDHI
INDIAN AGARBATTIS IN FOREIGN LANDS
India’s exports of agarbattis in 2005-06 shot up steeply by 21.68 per cent. USA continues to be the largest market. brand through 5 lakh retail outlets in the country has doubled volumes from 50 million sticks per month to 100 million sticks now. It continues to upgrade the manufacture of agarbattis by villagers and smallscale manufacturers. The company now sources all its requirements though tie-ups with Sankranti, Ananth and Jyanti Domestic Products (all from Bangalore), Cottage industry of Aurobindu Ashram (Pondicherry), Prayer Dhoop Agarbatti (New Delhi), Swastik Industries (Chandigarh), Jayanti Products (Agartala) and Khadi and Village Indusrties Commission (mainly Coimbatore). ITC thus helps the small and medium enterprises manufacturing agarbattis continuously by improving their quality and productivity. It has already launched brands like ‘Spriha’ and ‘Mangaldeep’ along with
a wide range of fragrances like rose, jasmine, bouquet, sandalwood, mahur, sambrani and nagchampa. Packaged quite attractively, these brands appeal to a cross-section of consumers at various price segments. These agarbattis are available in ‘fragrance locked packets.’ Fragrancelocking’ is a unique concept of packaging which helps to retain the fragrance for a longer period. Through its participation in the business, ITC aims to enhance the competitiveness of the small- and medium-scale sectors through its complementary R&D-based product development and distribution. In pursuance of its abiding social commitment, the company continues to partner with small and medium enterprises to help them raise their quality and process standards. Six agarbatti manufacturing units have received ISO 9001-2000 certification aided by the company’s process and technical inputs. The business continues its collaboration with various NGOs in Bihar, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu to provide vocational opportunities to rural youth and economically disadvantaged women in keeping with the company’s commitment. ITC is also supporting an ‘Agarbatti Community Participation Programme’ run by the Vyakti Vikas Kendra, a non-profit organisation funded by the...
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