Traditional sectors

    Kerala is a major manufacturer & exporter of traditional handicrafts in the country. The artisans of Kerala are well known for their wood carvings, designer jewellery and idols in metal. Kerala is also famous for artefacts and curios made out of bamboo, coconut shell, coir and other materials.


    The Handicraft sector is one of the traditional industries of Kerala. Kerala has the tradition of making beautiful handicrafts with ivory, bamboo, palm leaves, seashells, wood, coconut shells, clay, cloth, coir, metals, stone, lacquer ware, and so on. Many old handicraft classics can be seen in palaces, old heritage homes and museums across the State. A vast majority of the traditional artisans belong to socially and economically backward classes.

    Handicrafts Development Corporation of Kerala (HDCK) is engaged in procuring and marketing handicraft products, and thereby ensuring fair returns to artisans. HDCK’s showrooms include Sree Moolam Shashtyabdapurthi Memorial Institute (SMSMI) in Thiruvananthapuram and Kairali Emporia spread across the State and other major locations in India. At present, HDCK has a network of 19 such sales emporia other than SMSMI.


    Kerala State is one of the major diversity centers for bamboo species following the North-Eastern Region of India. The Western Ghat region of Kerala is where most of the commercial bamboo species are grown due to the favourable agro-climatic conditions.

    Bamboo and Reed sector is one of the age old traditional industries of Kerala State. A unique feature of the Kerala bamboo scene is that 67.3% of the extracted bamboo comes from home gardens rather than the forests. Additionally, many agencies are also involved in the production of bamboo through proper systematic plantations.

    Wayanad is one of the major districts in Kerala known for its thick bamboo forest. Traditionally bamboo is grown in homesteads, especially in Palakkad, Thrissur and Malappuram districts of Kerala and due to the extension programmes implemented recently, farmers from all over Kerala have come forward for cultivation of non-thorny bamboo species.

    Kerala has both traditional industries such as mat weaving & basketry and modern industries like paper pulp and bamboo ply. According to a baseline survey conducted recently, Bamboo can contribute significantly to rural economy and create employment opportunities. The Bamboo workers in the State are mainly from pro-poor communities.

    After the formation of Kerala State Bamboo Mission, the Mission initiated several interventions to address the issues faced by the sector such as skill development, training for the artisans, institutional linkages, trade fair participation, Training to Trainers and promoting propagation of bamboo.

    The focused interventions include:
    • Promotion of Bamboo and related products
    • Assess gaps in skill and technology knowhow on location basis and conducting need based training
    • Support Services for developing new designs & innovative products in Bamboo sector
    • Promotion of bamboo propagation
    • Promotion of bamboo based entrepreneurship by providing necessary support services.
    • Provide necessary supports to create Market demands
    • Act as a support service provider to bridge the critical gaps in the sector

    Key Players – Kerala
    • Development Commissioner Handicrafts
    • SURABHI – Apex society
    • Handicrafts Development Corporation
    • Artisans Development Corporation
    • Bamboo Development Corporation
    • Palmyra Development Corporation
    • SMSM Institute
    • Kairali Exports

    Prominent Statistics
    • Key Investments : 981.3 Lakhs
    • CAGR of Total Exports : 9.47%