Power to the people: How Amazon India is providing tribal communities control over their products
India is home to the second-largest tribal population in the world. These tribes are truly diverse, comprising various ethnicities, languages and geographic locations. Tribal communities in India produce a variety of products through locally sourced materials which helps them sustain their families and livelihoods. Perhaps the most well-known and recognized products from these communities are their arts and crafts, which carry a rich legacy and are passed down generations.
At TRIFED, our motto is to ensure inclusive growth- ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’, and our longstanding partnership with Amazon India is helping further this mission.
Although tribal communities produce products that are in great demand, they also face a host of challenges while selling them. One of the biggest challenges they face is limited control over production especially in terms of marketing and selling their products across the country to gain more value. To illustrate this better, I’ll use the example of tamarind - a commonly traded product from tribal communities. Raw tamarind is sold by tribes to traders who then make value additions later selling various iterations such as deseeded tamarind, powdered tamarind, and tamarind paste to consumers at much higher prices. If we could allow tribal communities to make these value additions themselves and sell to customers, they stand to gain more in the process. Addressing issues such as middlemen and sales in unregulated markets will give greater power to tribal communities helping turn trade in their favor. At TRIFED, our motto is to ensure inclusive growth- ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’, and our longstanding partnership with Amazon India is helping further this mission.
The question now is how does e-commerce help address the aforementioned challenges. The online marketplace offers tribal artisans and sellers unfettered access to customers from across the country. This helps them reduce dependence on middlemen and traders, giving them greater control over the products they labored over. With greater control, tribal artisans and sellers are able to influence the various stages of production, from creating a product, adding value, branding, packaging and marketing the product- to finally selling it to consumers, securing the right value for their products. The online marketplace also offers tribal artisans and sellers the ability to build and run scalable businesses with limited investments and capital.
Tribes India continues to play a key role in keeping the unique Indian tribal arts, alive. Our mission to make every art form in India easily accessible to customers. Through our partnership with Tribes India, today, in addition to creating easier access to these products to customers, significant number of sellers including artisans and weavers associated with them are able to benefit and accelerate their business through ecommerce. We believe that their growth will receive further boost during the upcoming festive season.
The partnership between TRIFED and Amazon has enabled sellers and artisans to sell Tribes India products across India and around the world, at a fraction of the costs associated with running a business of such proportions. Selling online has also provided tribal communities with a means to revive their businesses from the impact of the pandemic. Amazon India’s sale events like Prime Day 2020 and Small Business Day have helped generate customer demand for products, with more and more customers coming forward to support locally made products from small businesses across the country. Initiatives like ‘Stand for Handmade’ which was aimed at supporting artisans and women entrepreneurs across the country have also created awareness about the products available from our artisans on the marketplace. This has aided in the revival of tribal-owned and run handicraft businesses, creating a positive impact in the lives of thousands of tribal artisans across the country.
To accelerate the growth further, recently, we joined Amazon’s Seller Flex program. This program is intended to share Amazon’s best practices in warehousing, inventory management, and shipping with sellers. With Tribes India now a part of the Seller Flex program, we will minimize the cost of transporting our goods to Amazon’s warehouses which will allow our artisans and sellers greater control over their inventory.
I’ve indicated how important having control over our products is for tribal artisans, and with Seller Flex, we will be able to run our processes from end to end. The support and expertise from Amazon will help empower thousands of artisans and weavers who are part of Tribes India. This is particularly important considering that Amazon India’s festive sales, one of the biggest sale events of the year, is around the corner. We look forward to the sale event and being able to deliver thousands of years of tradition and legacy from our end to the customers’ doorstep.