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Kouna craft
Kouna craft

Manipur's 'Kouna Craft' is casting spell on handicraft sector

ANI | Updated: Aug 23, 2018 19:28 IST

Thoubal (Manipur) [India], Aug 23 (ANI): Handicrafts in Manipur have a unique place among the various crafts of the country due to its aesthetic and artistic value. Among the crafts, 'Kouna craft' is widespread due to the availability of raw materials and demand from both domestic and international buyers.
Many locals in Manipur are earning their livelihood through this indigenous craft, and it has opened ample of job avenues for local craftsmen in the state.
Kouna, a grass-like plant, is usually grown in the marsh and wetlands and is largely cultivated in Manipur's Khangabok village. This village is renowned for its traditional art of Kouna Saba, locally called Phaksaba or mat weaving.
One such successful Kouna craftsperson, Moirangthem Nitya, hailing from the state of Manipur is running a successful business and helping many local artisans earn their livelihood in Manipur.
"With an aim to empower women employment and to bring some more better creative ideas, we formed this society," said Moirangthem Nitya.
More than 150 locals are employed under Moirangthem Nitya in the village. He along with other working employees formed a co-operative society called 'The Monalisha Multipurpose Cooperative society' in Thoubal district under Manipur Cooperative Societies Act, 1976.
Many local artisans especially women folk in Manipur are engaged in making products out of 'Kouna craft' (a water reed) and are earning well.
These long water reeds have huge potential for large-scale plantation, production, and marketing of various products such as cushions, mats, baskets, ladies handbags, laundry baskets, and furniture. They are eco-friendly and hand woven which is durable and washable. However, to make it more durable, drying in sun is necessary.
Many Kouna handicraft training programs are organized in different places which are attended by many craftspeople. Many among those are supporting their family by selling handmade Kouna items for the past 14 years.
Among the many products, handmade bags of different shapes and sizes are the most popular items and cost Rs.120 to Rs.500 each. Bags are prepared within the time span of two days.
Different types of products made by Kouna are also exported to places like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and many other states. The cooperative society earns nearly Rs.50, 000 to Rs. 80,000 per month from exporting and selling Kouna products.
Kouna originates from Khangabok and the raw materials are richly available in the area. The raw material is temperature dependent.
"This Kouna society is helping us in many ways in our daily lives. I earn around Rs. 200 to 300 per day which is helping me to earn a livelihood for my family," said an artisan Ibechaobi.
The handicraft sector of Manipur has improved livelihood as well as increased productivity and generates employment opportunities for the unemployed youth of the state. (ANI)