Jodhpur, Rajasthan–AHEC hosted a mini-convention and trade servicing mission to Jodhpur recently. A total of 12 U.S. hardwood exporting companies, in addition to the Chief Inspector from the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), AHEC technical consultants and representatives from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) traveled to Jodhpur in Rajasthan in order to conduct a series of factory visits in conjunction with the Jodhpur Handicrafts Exporters Association (JHEA). The trade servicing mission ran ahead of AHEC’s participation at DelhiWood 2023.
Building on previous successful activities that have been jointly hosted by AHEC and the JHEA, this latest initiative aimed to facilitate real trade between the manufacturers in Jodhpur and AHEC members. Visits to some of the leading manufacturers helped the American hardwood exporters better understand the needs of JHEA members in regards to their timber requirements, while the seminar and mini-convention revealed new opportunities for American hardwoods, particularly for products destined for export markets. Following this, the delegation headed to Delhi where AHEC hosted a pavilion with 12 hardwood lumber exporters at DelhiWood 2023.
“The furniture and handicraft manufacturers in Jodhpur consume significant volumes of hardwood lumber in their production, which is almost exclusively destined for export to the United States, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. More recently, they have had to deal with the challenges of decreasing traditional sources of wood supply and ensuring the wood products they use do not come from illegal sources. An effective strategy to overcome these challenges is to manufacture products from American hardwoods, which are not only abundant in supply and of consistent quality, but backed by an assurance of legal and sustainable sourcing, which is already well recognized in the main consumer markets,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director.
According to AHEC, India offers massive potential for the consumption of American hardwoods across many different sectors and both for domestic and export manufacturing. Jodhpur is just one center for the production of wooden furniture and handicrafts and there are others in Rajasthan, as well as in other states. The scale of manufacturing is very significant and the requirement for hardwood lumber is substantial. The seminar and mini-convention is timely as it offered a perfect forum for the Jodhpur handicrafts sector to meet members of the U.S. hardwood industry in person and to discuss ways of working together, particularly given the pressing need for alternative sources of hardwood lumber in India.
“The American hardwood industry is committed to supplying India, which has demonstrated a growing appetite for U.S. hardwoods in recent years. This is underlined by the fact that so many U.S. company representatives will join us on the trip to Jodhpur and at DelhiWood. While U.S. hardwood exports to India remain low relative to the potential size of market, awareness is increasing, perceptions are changing, and demand is on the rise. Given that the market is at a turning point, we fully intend to keep up the momentum in India in the coming months. Based on the success of this event, we are looking to host similar events later this year, as well as to participate in the MumbaiWood trade show,” concluded Wiles.