Market Survey

A

garbattis,’ also known as
‘incense sticks,’ are made
from aromatic plants and
essential oils extracted
from plants or animal
sources. When lightened, these release a fragrant smoke which finds
use in the religious activities,
prayers, and therapeutic and aesthetic purposes. Agarbattis have been
used since times immemorial as an
integral part of Hindu deity worship
in India.
There are about 10,000 agarbatti
manufacturing units in the country
including tiny, small and medium,
besides another 200 well-established
ones having over 50 branded
agarbattis. Nearly 12 lakh people are
directly or indirectly employed by
the industry.
India is exporting a wide range of
agarbattis or incense sticks that have
natural, exotic fragrances extracted
from jasmine, sandalwood (chandan)
and rose. These fragrances spread
the ambience and tranquility. The
incense sticks are packaged attractively.
The agarbatti industry depends
heavily on forest products for raw
materials—a natural advantage since
nature has bestowed upon it vast
expense of forests.
Capexcil (formerly known as Basic Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and
Cosmetics Export Promotion Council), functioning under the aegis of
Ministry of Commerce and industry,
government of India, over the years
has been playing an important role
in promoting exports of agarbattis
from the country.
Besides, ITC’s incense sticks business launched as part of its strategic
initiative to create multiple drivers
of growth in fast moving consumer
goods sector (FMCG) leverages the
core strengths of the company in
marketing and distribution, brand
building, supply chain management
and paperboard and packaging to offer Indian consumers high-quality
agarbattis.
The
company
marketing
agarbattis under the ‘Mangaldeep’

BY: G.P. GANDHI

INDIAN AGARBATTIS
IN FOREIGN LANDS

India’s exports of agarbattis in 2005-06 shot up steeply by
21.68 per cent. USA continues to be the largest market.
brand through 5 lakh retail outlets
in the country has doubled volumes
from 50 million sticks per month to
100 million sticks now. It continues
to upgrade the manufacture of
agarbattis by villagers and smallscale manufacturers. The company
now sources all its requirements
though tie-ups with Sankranti,
Ananth and Jyanti Domestic Products (all from Bangalore), Cottage
industry of Aurobindu Ashram

(Pondicherry), Prayer Dhoop
Agarbatti (New Delhi), Swastik Industries (Chandigarh), Jayanti Products (Agartala) and Khadi and Village Indusrties Commission (mainly
Coimbatore).
ITC thus helps the small and
medium enterprises manufacturing
agarbattis continuously by improving their quality and productivity. It
has already launched brands like
‘Spriha’ and ‘Mangaldeep’ along with

68 Source: Compiled from the data of DGCI&S. Tripura and Andhra Pradesh.36 13.45 9.57 8.43 10. UAE (28.63 6.04 per cent).95 5.90 7.Market Survey a wide range of fragrances like rose. Pondicherry and New Delhi.71 5. bouquet.58 57. essentially a cottage sector art perfected by the tiny sector artisans at the village level. 2005 and 2006 issues.19 8.99 (–) 3.55 26. On the other hand.98 4. ITC is also beginning to extend similar support to other NGOs in other states like Bihar. These agarbattis are available in ‘fragrance locked packets.49 crore. Over 100 village women are gaining from the training that this organisation imparts in rolling agarbattis. Herbal bio-pesticide and mosquito repellant developed. Sri Lanka (57.75 46. The business continues its collaboration with various NGOs in Bihar.26 4. imparting training to village women in rolling agarbattis. The Agartala-based Jayanti Domestic Products. sandalwood.49 12.45 92.04 9.04 26.54 per cent to this market during the period—with exports having touched a figure of Rs 35.55 per cent) and France (3. sambrani and nagchampa.89 6. Egypt (33.68 5.51 per cent).83 4. March 2004.35 5. The .19 4. these brands appeal to a cross-section of consumers at various price segments. Spain (46. a non-profit organisation funded by the renowned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and located near Bangalore.99 per cent). Bangalore. it says that hand-rolled agarbattis.49 5.06 227. India’s exports India’s exports of agarbattis in 2005-06 shot up steeply by 21.’ Fragrancelocking’ is a unique concept of packaging which helps to retain the fragrance for a longer period.57 16. There was a phenomenal growth of 39.78 53. In pursuance of its abiding social commitment. Karnataka.43 per cent).48 203.66 2.32 per cent).32 (–) 14.49 (–) 48.43 38. have taken their first major step towards science-backed quality systems in north-eastern part of India.95 2.33 India’s Exports of Agarbattis to Major Countries During 2003-04 to 2005-06 (Rs crore) Item/country 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 USA UAE Malaysia Brazil UK Sri Lanka Egypt Mauritius South Africa Australia Spain Chile France Italy Djibouti Total (all India) 33.92 33.49 per cent). ITC aims to enhance the competitiveness of the small.80 11.26 5.42 Per cent growth in 2005-06 over 2004-05 39. one of the seven agarbatti vendors of ITC.74 21. Volume I: Exports & Re-Exports. Packaged quite attractively.58 10. Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu to provide vocational opportunities to rural youth and economically disadvantaged women in keeping with the company’s commitment.78 12.96 9.92 3. Australia (53. manufacturing the nationally marketed ‘Mangaldeep’ brand of agarbattis has received ISO9001:2000 quality certification for incense sticks within 12 months of starting full-fledged quality production. Brazil (14. mahur. the markets showing a negative growth during the period included Italy (48.75 per cent).51 46. Malaysia (33.78 per cent) and UK (26. Chile (38.45 per cent).29 4. The other major markets witnessing steep growth comprised Djibouti (92. which are also setting up agarbatti units.53 33.68 4.42 crore over Rs 203. ITC is also supporting an ‘Agarbatti Community Participation Programme’ run by the Vyakti Vikas Kendra. jasmine.75 7.52 4.69 25.12 9.54 28. Six agarbatti manufacturing units have received ISO 9001-2000 certification aided by the company’s process and technical inputs.64 5.97 7.33 35.54 5.68 per cent when the same reached a level of Rs 247. Coimbatore.53 per cent).37 6. South Africa (26. Recent developments ISO-9001:2000 accorded to vendors of ITC Ltd. A recent news- paper clipping appearing in The Hindu Business Line states that ITC’s ‘Mangldeep’ brand of agarbattis is being marketed all over the country through its wide network being operated by the cottage and small-scale units from Tripura.78 247.40 4. Mauritius (46.92 per cent). Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade of India. the company continues to partner with small and medium enterprises to help them raise their quality and process standards. Kolkata crore in the previous year.and medium-scale sectors through its complementary R&D-based product development and distribution. Through its participation in the business. USA continues to be the largest market.84 4.74 per cent).57 crore as against Rs 25.58 per cent).13 3.74 5. Further.58 6.

using sandalwood powder as base. Speaking on the occasion. Spain. The Export Marketing Service offered by EXIM Bank will supplement ITC’s efforts to expand export markets. the UK and Germany. Rajskharan. The government has already chalked out a strategy to commercialise these products for mass production and consumption. ITC has recently signed up with Exim Bank for providing export marketing services to leverage the bank’s overseas presence to promote agarbattis with buyers. importers and distributors abroad. ITC’s partnership with Exim Bank will help make quality agarbattis available to consumers in other parts of the world. ITC’s alliance with KVIC. ITC agarbattis’ foray into Europe will cover France. Italy. CEO of ITC Agarbattis. ITC Ltd has opened up effective fragrance trail all the way from Pondicherry to Paris (France) to launch a new range of handcrafted agarbattis (packets of 20s and 10s) in Europe under the brand name ‘Encens de Pondichery. The know-how for making herbal agarbattis has already been transferred to three entrepreneurs for large-scale production. have taken their first major step towards science-backed quality systems in north-eastern part of India. L’Air de Pondcherry and Sveurs de Pondicherry—with five distinctive fragrances under each. The formulation can be used directly without any mixture in the preparation of agarbattis. New Delhi .  The author was formerly a research officer at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. ITC launches agarbatti range in Europe. ITC is also participating in Bamboo Development Programme launched by Tripura Government and has also launched Vendor Development Programme in Agartala under which some 10 million sticks are being sourced per month. V. The annual consumer spend in agarbattis is Rs 1000 crore with the organised players (numbering just 7 or 8) accounting for 25 per cent share. while ITC will finalise the deal and ensure supplies and deliveries. has developed a herbal formulation for repelling mosquitoes and providing fragrance at the same time. spray and floor emulsion. with them. identify customers for ITC products directly or through its associates and initiate negotiations Hand-rolled agarbattis. dhoopbattis. In the process. The KVIC-ITC ‘Mangaldeep’ agarbatti project is a good beginning for developing linkages with the cottage sector under the Rural Employment Guarantee Programme of the Union Government. The company has identified Awarampalayam Sarvodya Sang in Coimbatore as the nodal agency to supply and monitor the agarbatti manufacturing activities of other identified: directly aided institutions and small REGP units of KVIC which supply to KVIC. ITC participation in a series of agarbatti programmes. ITC Ltd SBU (Strategic Business Unit) sourcing agarbattis from the cottage sector has started working with Andhra Pradesh Forest Department on a quality improvement programme for hand-cut bamboo—a critical input for ramping up vol- Incense sticks spread out to dry umes in the highly unorganised agarbattis business. the cottage and small sectors which make the agarbattis for ITC will be greatly benefited. ITC signs up with Exim Bank for promotion of agarbattis in the overseas markets.Market Survey Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. lotion.M. said that the incense sticks were a blend of natural ingredients and fragrances. essentially a cottage sector art perfected by the tiny sector artisans at the village level.’ The company’s agarbatti strategic business unit has launched three new series—Heritge de Pondecherry. Lucknow. The bank will help locate business partners for ITC’s agarbattis. Exim Bank believes that rural enterprises can make a mark in international markets with proper guidance and support provided by corporations and institutions.