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Women trade festival gets little response

Riaz Khan Daudzai

PESHAWAR: Mismanagement and the lack of publicity marred the first-ever Women Grand Trade Festival organized by the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI) in the city.

The event failed to attract visitors and disappointed stallholders in frustration wrapped up half of the stalls on the very first day of the event.

Arranged at the lawns of the Shahi Mehmankhana, the official guesthouse of the provincial government, the festival ended on Wednesday on a sour note, as it was not getting the response it should have generated in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Provincial Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, while inaugurating the festival, described the event a big success. Being able to hold a trade expo for women artisans and businesswomen in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was it self considered to be a great achievement.

The poor response of the visitors and casual attitude of the organisers even on Wednesday caused frustration among the stall owners, some of whom said the show failed to attract attention due to lack of publicity and selection of venue.

The organisers told The News that they had allotted 43 stalls on the first day, and were expecting the flow of visitors on the second day of the event, following news of the expo on media. But half of the stalls had already been wound up by mid-day on the first day. “We are winding up as people are not coming,” a mother-daughter duo from Karachi who were running two separate stalls said.

The mother, Mahira Shahi, having a herbal medicines stall, said she did not receive any visitor. Her daughter Marriam Ahmed was also getting frustrated at her garment stall for the same reason. Another lady from Lahore said she was going to pack up. She opined that the exhibition was not creating enthusiasm among the festivity-starved residents of Peshawar due to the organisers’ inability to manage such events.

A government servant, supervising a stall, extolled the businesswomen’s response and said that stalls were set up by the Women’s Bank Limited as well as housewives from Swat, Kohat and Swabi. “However, the stall-holders are likely to leave in frustration,” he said.

The Bank of Khyber had also set up a stall at the festival and its two-member team of a lady and male official explained that the main objective of their stall was to raise awareness among the women entrepreneurs about the products offered by the bank for small and traditional skill projects.

Source: The News