Mahalaxmi SARAS 2011-12 provided an unique opportunity for the rural craftsmen / artisans to interact face to face with the sophisticated urban elite class and to build marketing links for direct sales. NABARD in the last decade has sponsored artisans in marketing their products in Melas/exhibitions conducted in cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Mysore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ranchi, Patna, etc.
This year also NABARD sponsored 60 stalls in the Mahalaxmi SARAS fair organised by Rural Development Department,Government of Maharashtra. The event was sponsored by GoI, MORD and NABARD. 116 rural artisans from 24 states covering men and women participants participated representing cross country from Jammu & Kashmir to Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat . All the stalls on an average sold their aesthetic products ranging from .20 - .80000/.
The unique products showcased and sold in the mela were Kashmir art goods, rose woo inlay products, beaded jewellery , belmetal handicraft goods, mirror works and wooden toys. The other items which attracted bulk orders were organic spice, finger millets, carvings of Lord Venkateshwara and Lord Krishna, jute products, rose wood inlay products, patch work bed spreads, paper mache goods etc.
Sales were enhanced through credit card facility provided to the artisans for the first time. The total sales crossed .72 lakhs and many artisans have received bulk orders ranging from .1 lakh to .10 lakh. Credit card sales was .2 lakhs.
SARAS ended on 02 February 2012 , Dr.D.V. Deshpande, CGM, DPD NFS distributed certificates to the artisans in the valediction programme and all the artisans shared their experience and expressed their gratitude to NABARD for having provided a platform for them to market their products in a city like Mumbai. Shri S.S. Singh, G.M and other officials of the DPD-NFS were also present during the concluding session.