Bamboo Incense Stick Cluster, Nalbari - Design Clinic Scheme

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Bamboo Incense Stick Cluster, Nalbari - Design Clinic Scheme

Incense or agarbatti in India

Incense stick or agarbatti making, in India, is a 3000 crore and growing

market. The agarbatti area is fragmented with many companies and their

brands available throughout the domestic market. The bulk of the agarbattis

manufactured in India are hand rolled by women in rural households - it

is a well established cottage industry and provides these women with a

supplementary source of income.

Agarbattis in India are popularly available in 8” and 9” sticks. Though

the actual production (of rolling the agarbattis) is concentrated almost

exclusively in rural and semi-rural areas, processes such as scenting and

packaging are handled by SSIs. Top brands such as ‘Cycle’ agarbattis and

ITC’s ‘Mangaldeep’, function by outsourcing majority of the production to SSI

units, NGOs, SHGs and cottage industries, with the largest concentration in

the southern states such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, with initiatives

being organised in Orissa, Bihar. Tripura, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Agarbatti rolling happens mostly in homes by women, occassionally assisted

by the children of the household. NGOs or contractors provide the raw

material to the workers who roll the agarbattis on a low wooden table, in a

squatting or cross-legged sitting position. The unscented sticks are collected

and supplied by a network of NGOs or contractors, to factories where the

next processes of scenting and packaging are carried out. The finished

products are marketed through India, using the extant marketing and

distribution chains, by established brands under their own brand names.

Agarbattis, a staple feature of Indian devotional activities, is now branching

out as products associated with aromatherapy, meditation and yoga. As a

result, newer markets are opening up in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and

in countries in North and South America. In addition, the Indian diaspora

across the globe provides a good market for exports of agarbatties and allied

products.

Branded Retailers

Packaging, distribution, marketing

Small Scale Units

Scenting and/or packaging

NGOs & Contractors

Raw materials (powders, charcoal, bamboo)

Rural Households

Assembly of material into raw sticks

Method of operations and hierarchy in the incense stick industry

N.A.S for Bamboo Incense Stick Cluster, Nalbari | 2013 | Mridul Mitra, Design Consultant | Email: mridul.mitra@gmail.com 7

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