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AMBA International ; A Leader in India Sericulture Industry

An Interview with Mr Gagan Bihari – Amba International CEO

History of sericulture

It is said that the history of sericulture dates back to 4000 years ago in China. It was kept guarded there for long but eventually, the art reached Japan, Vietnam, part of Russia and India. Since then, the Indian silk has been an integral showcase of the exotic Indian culture. The era of the Maharajas glorified the fabrics to its fullest. Handmade intricate embroidery and the finely woven Muslin have always astonished and allured the world.

Please let us know more details about AMBA international Sericulture company, history and success story

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Amba International was established in 1979 by a first-generation entrepreneur Late Mr Pramode Kumar in Bhagalpur, the production centre for handspun and handwoven silk fabrics. The expansion and consolidation have been a continuous process carried and spearheaded by his son and daughter in law Gagan Bihari and Ritashree Agarwal. Radhika Agarwal is the third generation in this family keeping the flag flying high along with the guidance of her father.

Video shows how weaving of narrower width fabrics are done

Indian silk is our speciality and pride. Every new development at Amba is a creation of hard work, innovative insight and market forecast. Time honoured and high tech embroideries are our forte. Creating new weaves and combining yarns to make blends never seem to stop surprising our valued customers. Our ability to weave their ideas to fabrics has always given us satisfaction and pleasure.

Our team of young executives has a knack of understanding the demands of our valued customers. We can turn their ideas into fabrics in a quick frame of time. We meet the delivery of our orders on time…… every time.

We started exporting to our high-end customers in the US, Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia for home furnishing and also for the high fashion garment industry. In 1992 we started exporting to South Africa Amba, is the recipient of the export merit award from the government of India for its outstanding work for many many years.

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We have an in house design facility and have started making computerized embroideries on handloom silks. This way the unique character of the fabric stays and yet it has the fusion of all modern intricate embroideries. We also do hand embroideries.

We are doing hand block print, screenprint and also digital prints. From these fabrics, we make cushion covers, curtains, table mats, napkins in our factory.

It is said that the history of sericulture dates back to 4000 years ago in China. It was kept guarded there for long but eventually, the art reached Japan, Vietnam, part of Russia and India. Since then, the Indian silk has been an integral showcase of the exotic Indian culture. The era of the Maharajas glorified the fabrics to its fullest. Handmade intricate embroidery and the finely woven Muslin have always astonished and allured the world.

Indian silks are woven mainly from the following yarns:
1. Filature  2. Dupione 3. Matka  4. Noil  5. Tussah 6. Gicha 7. Katia 8. Jhuri 9. Fesua

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And the main production centres are at Bangalore, Bhagalpur, Varanasi, Champa, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Silk weaving is based on the cottage industry where the whole family of weavers is involved in the production of this unique fabric.

The ladies do hand spinning of the yarn on a charkha which was the symbol of non-violence of our Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.

The male members do weaving, dyeing etc. The yarns are also dyed by hand. There is one unique process called KUNDI which is also done on these fabrics to get the sheen on it which is like beating the fabric with heavy wooden planks. This is like hand calendaring but this has a unique effect of bringing lustre to the fabric. This is perhaps done only in India and no other silk-producing country has this.

As the time progressed dyeing has become mechanised but weaving even today is handloom. Spinning is also now about 50% hand and 50% machine.

Video shows the calendering process of Ampa international silk fabrics

Please explain which kind of silkworms and silk fibre you produce in AMBA Company?

Amba has mulberry, Tussar worms and from these Matka silks, Tussar silks, Ghicha silks, Katia silks, Fesua silks, Noile silks and Dupione silks are made.

Which countries are your target markets for export? (you can add number and figures about your production and export if you like)

We want to explore and target new markets of the Middle East and African countries. We have been looking for agents in countries like Tunisia, Madagascar, Morocco and Egypt but have not had any success yet. Closer home we would be interested in supplying to United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar to name a few.

We are ready for collaboration with interested companies in these areas. India has the unique distinction of being the only country to produce such a vast variety of high-quality silks. Silks are integrated into the life and culture of India.

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How do you evaluate the sericulture industry in India? Where is the position of India in the world?

India stands second in the production of silks in the world. Production of silks is done in many parts of India. Government of India is helping the reelers, sericulture from the grass-root level. The demand of silks is becoming higher and higher in the domestic market in India.

The types of silk produced in India are :

Mulberry about 71.8% 20,343 Metric tons

Tussah is about 9.9% 2828 Mettric tons

Eri about 17.8% 5054 mettric tons.and

Moonga about 0.6% about 166 Metric tons.

As a leader silk manufacturer in India, how do you evaluate the textile and fashion industry in MiddleEast and Africa and its potentials for Future?

We are very upbeat about the future of silk textiles in Africa because of its natural wilderness. This will very easily corroborate with the African game lodges and habitat. For the Middle East, the fine silks will blend with the elegance and grandeur of the country. We feel there is a huge potential in both of these regions as they still remain untapped in comparison to other countries.

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COVID 19 shows us we should rely more on sustainability and green products, what do you think about sustainable and green textile and role of silk in this sector?

Global production of all apparel and textile fibers amount to more than 110 million tons annually, leading to the generation of high amounts of textile wastes. This pandemic has made consumers more conscious. Everyone is trying to reuse and recycle more than ever before. Consumers will choose quality over quantity. Any buyer looking for quality in textiles will bend towards silk.

Also sericulture is an agro-based industry. It generates high employment to many families of farmers, weavers, reelers, etc. These fabrics are eco-friendly highly sustainable. COVID 19 has made people realize that they should support natural fibre against polyester. Because of its qualities, Silk has a great future being the green fabric.

How was the effect of Pandemic on sericulture industry?

The pandemic has affected the sericulture industry adversely. Since this industry is labour intensive the lockdown impacted it immensely. There was almost no production being done for months. The cocoon breeding farms were not able to work without labour. Since no cocoons were being bred there was no yarn and without any yarn, there were no fabrics.

Its been almost close to 6 months since the world is facing this pandemic. The demand for the final products is at all-time low. We feel it will take some time before the supply and demand come back to normal. Hence looking for new markets is the need of the hour.

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