Business and Economy of Kolhapur
Over the years Kolhapur district has emerged for having one the highest per capita income in India. Today, Kolhapur boasts for having the maximum number of Mercedes car owners, being the Sugar bowl of India and with Sugar, Spinning and textile mills spread throughout Kolhapur district it surely has raced ahead of many other cities in terms of economic growth in recent years and has established itself as a prominent destination in the state of Maharashtra for investments.
The Industries in Kolhapur can be divided into 2 main categories:
Large Scale Industries in Kolhapur
The Major industries in Kolhapur district are the Spinning mills, Sugar industries, Textile mills and supported by industries in sectors like engineering goods, poultry, foundry, chemicals etc which generate employment for lakhs of people in and around Kolhapur.
Small Scale Industries in Kolhapur
The major small scale industries are into manufacturing auto spare parts, casting work, engineering works, diesel engines, silver ornament and kolhapuri chappals. There are many other small scale and cottage industries in rural areas which are family run businesses run down through generations into trades like hand-loom-weaving, gold smithy, oil crushing, brick and tile making, leather works and tanning, and black smithy etc in the Kolhapur district which collectively provides employment to large number people.
Manufacturing and Engineering Industry
Kolhapur is a well known industrial hub in western India. Bauxite deposits around this region have added to the industrial revolution in this region. Workshops and foundries are a common sight in industrial areas like Gokulshirgaon and Shiroli which produce aluminum castings, alloys, and bearings. Apart from that engineering machinery, spare parts of various machines, engine oils, agricultural implements, and aluminum and copper wires are manufactured and are exported to countries in Asia, Africa and Middle East. Kolhapur district has around 300 foundry units and Industrial exports are estimated at about 15 billion per year from manufacturing and engineering sector alone and they are expected to grow more in the coming years.
Silver and Gold Industry
Along with urban areas the village of Hupri near Kolhapur city has today become a busy and well known place for gold and silver industry. Jewelry made here is unique and is made keeping in mind traditional artistry. The specialty jewelry crafted here are Anklets or Payal of various lengths and designs, Gujrav and special kinds of necklaces.
Silver jewelry from Hupri is in great demand in India and abroad. Jewelry shops in Kolhapur and nearby cities like Miraj, Sangli, and Belgaum make good business selling Hupri jewellery to women from these areas and elsewhere who are fond of such ornaments. The Kolhapuri Saaj a specialty of Kolhapur is exported to countries like America and Australia. This industry has an annual turnover of crores each year and employs thousands of artisans and traders in and around Kolhapur.
Agriculture in Kolhapur
Kolhapur district has been producing Sugarcane and Jaggery since a long time. Jaggery is sold by brokers on behalf of agriculturists to other parts of India. Jaggery of Kolhapur is also exported to countries in Asia, Africa and other continents across the world. Kolhapur district also has a presence of many sugar refineries and collectively they process more than 5000000 metric ton of Sugarcane. Sugarcane farmers of Kolhapur itself bring in approximately 13 billion to the economy. Sugar from this region is exported all across India and abroad.
Textile Industry in Kolhapur
The Kolhapur economy is driven predominantly by the textile industry and is mainly dominated by local manufacturers and Marwari Rajasthani traders. Ichalkaranji, a city in Kolhapur district is home to one of the oldest textile industries in India. Also known as the "Manchester of Maharashtra" Ichalkaranji has nearly 5,000 textile factories and is known to be one of India's largest centers for small scale industry.
A few decades ago Ichalkaranji was famous for textile goods like cotton poplin, dhoti, and cotton saris but with changing times and technological advancement Kolhapur is now home to domestic and international fashion brands such as Raymond’s of India, Armani, Banana Republic, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith and many more. Textile goods manufactured in city are sold all over India as well as exported to various parts of the world.
Arts and Handicraft Industry
Kolhapur is well known for its local arts and handicraft market. Kolhapuri Chappals a specialty is manufactured by the local cobbler community and other skilled people dedicated to this art and is famous throughout India and abroad. There are about 15 co-operative societies of Kolhapuri chappals manufacturers in the district employing thousands of people directly or indirectly i.e. Artisans, dealers, raw material suppliers, helpers and others.
The Kolhapuri chappals manufactured are of 2 major types 1) Export Variety 2) Fancy Variety. The total production of the export variety and fancy Kolhapuri chappals is estimated to be in crores annually. Within the city the centrally located Shivaji Market has a concentration of 150 shops of which most exclusively deal with Kolhapur Chappals. The rest of the production of fancy variety is sold locally and the rest in Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmadabad, Bangalore and other commercial centers in the country through dealers and other retail outlets. The Kolhapuri Chappals are mainly exported to China, Japan, France and Australia.