Solar Powered Pottery Value Chain Champion

Raghuram Kulal – Master Potter

Individual Potter Entrepreneur and Master Trainer

Livelihood Pottery

Background

Raghuram Kulal belongs to a small village near Kundapura in a pottery family. The profession has continued for ages across many generations. The pottery community is reducing in numbers due to lack of market linkage, increased drudgery and lack of hands-on training on new designs. Raghuram Kulal was forced to drop his schooling and had to work in a hotel as his father was bed ridden during his early years. After a few years, Kulal started his career providing pottery related training in an organisation called “Concerned for working Children (CWC). After multiple training at multiple locations Kulal got into the art of making clay products.

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Ownership and Business Profile

Raghu is an individual entrepreneur who carries business on a community based service model. He markets and sells his products for both wholesale and retail. For wholesale he sells to father markets such as Mangalore and Udupi and locally sells to customers who visit his workshop and the adjoining exhibition center where he displays his products branded under his store name of ‘Guru Vandana Pottery’. The pottery pieces range from INR10- INR 150. The pieces are rated based on product category and design.

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Technological Solution

Raghu kula has adopted solar powered pottery wheel, pugmill and blunger. And the kiln was designed and built for him by the SELCO Foundation.

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Financial Solution

The solutions such as the pugmil, blunger and kiln were financed by SELCO Foundation. Raghu contributed INR 100000 through a personal loan at 12% p.a for 3 years towards adopting the pottery wheel and the construction of a shed.

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Built Environment Solution

Kiln was built by a fellow potter and a SELCO champion trainer, Chandrashekar Kulal.

Learnings

Raghuram is the first potter with SELCO Foundation to use solar powered technologies across the pottery value chain. Learnings based on technology and finances from this implementation are replicated across other sites.

Raghuram diversifies his product offerings greatly. It is important for potters to produce a mix of products including certain specialised/high value products to capture markets effectively.

Pre Intervention scenario

He was planning to shift over to a different profession due to lack of right markets for produced products and also the lack of technology and knowledge to address production issues. Additionally, the drudgery associated with was a reason to reconsider to continue practicing the profession.

"I want to revive the art of pottery."

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Raghu Kulal

Potter, Udupi, Karnataka

Impact

Raghu Kulal is now able to carry out production with much physical strain. Also, the mechanisation of the processes has cut shot production time. He is able to generate an income of INR 30000- INR 35000.

Raghu Kulal employs around 5-6 potters in his region and is an inspiration to many entrepreneurs in the pottery field who are at the verge of quitting the profession.