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Home > Profile>AndhraPradesh

AP's 'tie 'n dye' designs to adorn Air-India staffPochampally saris take wings!

Fashions may come and fashions may go, but for Air-India (A-I), tradition seems to be the beauty. The airline's ground staff will soon be draped in the ethnic centuries-old Pochampally saris. And they will fly on Andhra's exclusive weave, Pochampally, three months from now. All this, courtesy a sleepy village called Pochampally, in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh.

Here about 5,000 handloom craftspersons weave traditional designs called the 'tie and dye' or 'Ikkat'. The Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers' Co-operative Society (APCO) has now made a dent into the elite market by offering the famous Pochampally 'tie and dye' silk saris to Air-India, Mr P L Panda, advisor (technical and design), APCO said. "This is the first time that Air-India is giving Ikkat saris to its staff. With a view to encouraging the handloom sector, APCO will supply about 6,400 silk saris at an approximate cost of Rs 1 crore initially," he says. The order, being worked upon by about 1,000 Ikkat weavers, is expected to be ready by the end of March. Looking at the demand for these saris, we are expecting about Rs 10 crore worth of business by the end of this year. APCO has also approached other airlines for selling these fabrics. The state govt has already filed for patent rights for brand Pochampally under the category of geographically identified products. The designs for A-I have been woven in four colours - green, blue, magenta and leaf green. The yarn has been specially procured from Mysore, Karnataka. On an average, each sari is priced between Rs 1,200 and Rs 5,000. And after saris, it would be neckties for men and then it would be the turn of the salwar kameez!

Handloom Scenario and the Structure of Co-op. Societies :
The handloom societies in Andhra Pradesh are organised as a two tier sructure with the primary societies in the village level called Primary Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Societies (PHWCS) and the APEX Society at the State Level called A.P. State Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Society Ltd., (APSHWCS), popularly called APCO. By 1982-83 there were 2,115 primary weavers' cooperative societies in the State as against 1,024 Societies in 1975-76; 1,690 in 1977-78 and 1,932 in 1980-81. The number of societies almost doubled within eight years between 1975-76 and 1982-83 and this enormous increase can be attributed to the initiative of the Government who encouraged cooperativisation in order to ensure orderly flow of funds and easy monitoring of its integrated growth and development.

By early 80's itself, the Government found many socities to be either defunct or running in great losses and it was decided to merge the societies under the Viability Programme and about 668 Cooperatives were liquidated, 622 Societies merged with 323 Viable societies and in all there were 825 Societies in the State by end 1983. Again there was a marginal increase in the number of cooperatives in the subsequent years and by 1995 about 1,053 registered societies were affiliated to the Federal Weavers' Society, i.e., the A.P. State Handloom Weavers' Co-op. Society Limited (APSHWCS), APCO.

Since the handloom weavers have been facing problems both in getting inputs as well as in marketing their finished products, the creation of an APEX Society was thought of to address these twin problems of the timely availability of inputs and effective marketing strategy. Further, the Government is aware that protection to the sector is required to be continued because of the pious obligation to protect the heritage of the State and support is required to be continued to offset the built-in cost handicap of the handlooms, the focus of all its policy has been to provide a level playing field so as to enable the weaver to stand up on his own and face the market in a level playing field. Towards this end, the entire budget outlay of the Department of Handlooms and Textiles of Government of India amounting to about Rs.10.00 - 15.00 crores per annum and Central Assistance of an equal tune is being pumped into the handloom sector.


The Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Society Ltd., (APCO) is the APEX Handloom Cooperative Society of Andhra Pradesh. The Society was registered in the year 1976 with registered No.T.P.W.44 under the Andhra Pradesh Cooperative Societies Act 7 of 1964 with the following main objectives, inter alia, among others :-

  1. To purchase raw materials and appliances, tools and machinery including spares as may be required for the industry and to sell the same to the member-societies ;
  2. To purchase or receive for sale finished products of the member-societies and sell the same to the best advantage by opening Sales Units, Godowns, Exhibitions etc., within and outside the State;
  3. To purchase and supply other requirements of its member-societies;
  4. To establish and run sales units within and outside the area of operation for Exhibition and sale of products of member-societies;
  5. To hold, own, establish and hire processing units to undertake and provide processing facilities including dyeing, marcerizing, printing and furnishing etc., for all type of yarn and varieties of cloth, to the member-societies and to other institutions and individuals on hire on job work basis;
  6. To advise and render assistance to member-societies in preparation of production programmes, design development, product diversification and such qualitative improvement as may be necessary in the products produced by the member-societies to be in tune with the consumer tastes and market demand;
  7. To arrange for the training of weavers sponsored by the member-societies in improved methods of weaving and latest techniques and also for the training of its own employees in sales techniques, accountancy and business administration etc;

APCO is, thus, basically meant to extend marketing support to its affiliated Primary Cooperative Weavers' Societies registered under the cooperative fold in the State. The APCO is providing direct employment to over 1.00 lakh weavers and indirect employment to about 4.00 lakh people in the (23) districts of the state. The Society is working for the economic development and welfare of the weavers by

  1. Providing marketing support for the sale of handloom cloth;
  2. Supplying yarn requirement and other inputs for cloth production;
  3. Liaision on behalf of the Primary societies with Government Agencies for availing financial assistance and support under various developmental and welfare schemes;
  4. Marketing reliable handloom fabrics at affordable prices to customers both in the domestic and export market;
  5. Catering to the livery requirement of Government Departments / Agencies such as Tribal Welfare, Social Welfare, APSRTC, ACASH, etc.,

The APEX Society is managed by a Board of Management comprising of 31 Directors representing each of the 23 Districts, representative of APCO wool and seven official Directors including the Managing Director as Ex-officio Director and Vice-Chairman of the APEX organisation. After the expiry of the term of the elected Board in May 2000, the Secretary Industries & Commerce (Tex.) Department was appointed as the Person-in-charge of APCO pending conduct of election to the APEX body. The Director of Handlooms and Textiles, Government of Andhra Pradesh is kept in additional charge of the post of Vice Chairman and Managing Director of APCO for achieving better coordination between the Department and the APEX body in the common endeavour to revamp and restructure APCO. The APCO has 12 Divisional Marketing Officers in all major districts with a total supporting staff of 1083 employees. The marketing network of APCO is carried through its extensive sales outlets numbering (289) out of which (253) are located with in the State of Andhra Pradesh and (36) Interstate outlets are located outside the State of Andhra Pradesh.


Inking Exquisite Expressions in Fabric

Ikkat is a unique tie & dye process of creating fascinating patterns on cloth using natural vegetable dyes. Resist-dyeing the warp and/or weft to precision followed by expert weaving ensure the desired designs. Ikkat enables beautiful sarees in silk and cotton, curtains and draperies, furnishings, upholstery etc.
Interiors come alive with Ikkat durries, tablewares, tablemats and napkins. For those with distinct tastes and custom-preferences, APCO's virtuoso designers are always there to innovate altogether new concepts and patterns
Uppada Jamadani Weaves
A Glint of Gold on Fabric

One of the most exquisite and intricate of Indian hand woven textiles, these weaves hail from a beatific coastal belt of Andhra Pradesh.
Fine cotton and natural silk threads are laced together with gold strands in the finest count using supplementary weft technique to produce a distinctive range of sarees, fashion fabrics, scarves, stoles, cushion covers, drapes and window screens, all, marked by a transparent and mesmerizing mono-chromatic harmony
Venkatagiri Zari Saree
The weft interlaces with warp and the beating of weft into the fell takes in such a way (open shed beating), the surface of the cloth have a different look.
Cotton Saree with Zari Boder with motifs

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