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Promoting Deshi Ponno Online: Why and How

What is Deshi Ponno?

Deshi Ponno is also called domestic products or local products which refer to those products produced in our country. Some foreign products may also have come to Bangladesh in different ways at different times and are being produced in good quantity, they are also included as deshi ponno. 

Also, the products that are made in Bangladesh by bringing raw materials from abroad as finished goods, they are also called domestic products. Wherever the origin of the product is, all the products that are being produced in Bangladesh are considered as our domestic products or deshi ponno.

Why should we know about deshi ponno? 

There is almost no authentic source from where we can know about our deshi or local products. Because the term desi ponno is not specifically included in our education curriculum. There are no books, journals, websites, and no courses in any university on Deshi Ponno. 

Local products are the wealth of our country. Since we don’t have much opportunity to gather proper knowledge about these products, then we can’t find the potential sectors in our country, we don’t know in which sectors we have the opportunity to work and how we can use the resources properly in our country. We can know almost nothing. So most of the traditional industries of the country are disappearing gradually and the resources are not being utilized properly. 

That’s why It’s necessary to know about our local products. The more we know the more we can create job opportunities for ourselves in this sector. Some will think of becoming entrepreneurs of local products, while others will be interested in representing domestic products as buyers, promoting and increasing the demand for these products in a way that will boost our national economy. Moreover, as citizens of the country, it is one of our responsibilities to know about deshi ponno or local products.

How the promotional movement of deshi ponno has been started? 

Deshi Ponno or Made in Bangladesh Goods have become popular thanks extensive publicity in Facebook. Every day, there are more than 10,000 posts on Deshi ponno in Facebook. It started with Razib Ahmed, former President of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB). He started the movement to promote local products online. He was then the admin of Women and e-Commerce (WE) group. Thousands of people joined the effort and at one stage, there were more than 10 thousand posts per day in WE group in September 2020.

Razib Ahmed then left the WE group and encouraged others to set up their own FB groups on Deshi ponno. Thus, now, there are around 500 groups on local products. Of them, at least 100 groups follow the Arifa Model. Thus, they have common goals and practice some common tasks.

Today, like many other countries in the world, Bangladesh is facing economic uncertainties. The price of fuel is increasing and as a result price of essential commodities is only increasing. 

Taka, the Bangladeshi currency, has lost its value significantly within just 2 months. So, it is time that we focus on promoting local products. The best way to promote Bangladesh products is to do so online.

How can we promote deshi ponno?

The first thing we need to do is to identify the names of Bangladeshi products. Deshi Ponno Syllabus of Niger Fatema is an important initiative in this regard. We often find that there are some products that are very popular and famous in a particular district but most people outside of that district never heard of it. 

On the other hand, varieties of a same product can be found in different districts but not that well known. For example, Tangail Chomchom (a kind of sweet) is very famous but most people do know about Rajbari Chomchom and Shibganj Chomchom.

As a result, most people have little idea about Bangladeshi products. Students also do not learn anything special in their syllabus about the products. So, there is hardly any scope to know about them. That is why, we have to come forward now. Yes, at first, there will be very few people who are interested but according to Razib Ahmed, we need only 10 thousand such persons to create a strong movement online. 

This kind of movement has no relationship with politics and that is why, the government will not be sensitive. Instead, sooner or later, the government will come forward to extend its support.

Because of Arifa mode, we have now more than 100,000 posts about deshi ponno in Facebook. If you search then you will notice that there are many Facebook posts about local products of almost all the districts. We need to encourage people to just take a photo of their local products and post in Facebook. If possible they can take videos and post in YouTube. 

Facebook is a free platform. There are at least 100 groups about deshi ponno. So, anyone can simply join in any of the groups and post about their local products. All the content at the initial stage can be in Bangla language.

There can be one  or multiple Websites about deshi ponno. That website should contain at least one article about each and every local product. We also need to ensure photos of local products. We should not expect a perfect website overnight but the process has to be started as soon as possible. 

Having a good website full of information about deshi ponno can change things in a short time. A dedicated team is needed for that. We need to find at least one dedicated person from each Division to provide information about local products of that region.

If there is a website on deshi ponno similar to Wikipedia format then people from all over the country will be able to join and edit. If this is not possible then a simple website can be built based on WordPress. Developing a website is not difficult but sustaining it requires money and effort.

After developing the website,  we need to update it regularly. Then, we have to promote it. Additional budget will be needed for that.

For example, a search in Google result with the keyword “Jamdani Saree” will display results from many Indian websites despite the fact that Jamdani is mainly produced in Narayanganj district of Bangladesh. This will not change right away but something has to be done in this regard. There are more than 5 million people of Bangladeshi origin living outside of the country and this is a huge market with enormous potential for Bangladeshi products. A website is needed to inform these people about local products. Many of them are comfortable with English language. 

We need to have a long term plan about developing a website on Deshi ponno. For example, we should have a target that in one year, we will write articles about 1 thousand local products. So, we need to have a target of writing 100 articles per month. If we can arrange a team of 10 persons then it is possible. We should remember that at first, the speed will be slow and the articles will be short and even we may not be satisfied with the quality. However, after six months, there will be significant improvement in all these departments.

Of course, developing a website is not enough. Then, we have to promote it. That is why Facebook is important.  In Bangladesh,  there are nearly 50 million accounts. So, we can open a group for the website and also a page. The page will contain only updated about the website.  the main platform will be the group.  People will know about the website by discussing about it in the group.  everyday they can give posts about a particular product category. This will attract many people about the website and also about different products.

Without a plan and some dedicated persons, it will not be possible to develop a website about Deshi ponno. This is main obstacle- forming a team. If a team can formed and they can continue working for one year, many things will happen. Right now, most people in Bangladesh in every district have access to Internet and millions of them own a smartphone handset. So, once there is a team to collect the information, there will be no shortage of information. It sounds to be easy but once there is a good team, just one year of effort can make a huge difference.

Suppose, there is a target of writing 1 thousand articles in one year, then we just need to write about 3 products a day or 20 products per week. If we have a team of 10 persons then it is not a tough thing to do. Each of us will have to write about just 2 products per week. In theory, it looks very easy but in reality, it depends on the fact that all 10 members are regular and serious. Only then, amazing result will come within just one year.

Promoting Deshi Shawl:

Winter is knocking the door. This is the right time to start campaigning for desi shawls. Recently Popy Sarkar conducted a survey on Desi shawls.  It’ll help entrepreneurs understand what kind of shawls customers want to buy, what colors they like most for this winter.  So on the basis of this survey report, entrepreneurs can prepare, order and stock the shawls from the weavers as per the demand of the buyers.  

More than 50 types of shawls are made in our country.  We don’t know about these due to lack of adequate publicity, promotion and information. More Contents and media coverages are needed on different types of deshi shawls.  Popy Sarkar has also created a website called Shawl Pedia, which provides information on various types of desi shawls.  It is a great initiative.  Such a website will play a very important role in the promotion of desi shawls.

Promoting Deshi Saree:

In our country, winter means wedding season. And it is the perfect time to promote desi sarees. Because at the wedding events, not only the bride, but also most of the women who attend the wedding as guest wear the saree. 

And there are many variations in our desi sarees. Everyday we see thousands of new designs in hundred categories of sarees. There is also a great collection of low range sarees that are suitable for any wedding event. During the promotional of Manikganj Digital Polli project we have seen how attractive the low range desi sarees are. High priced exclusive jamdani, banarsi, katan and silk sarees also have many designs that brides can wear with elegance.  

Therefore, various steps should be taken from now for the campaign of our deshi sarees based on the upcoming wedding season. Then it’s expected that a huge market for desi sarees will be captured and created around the wedding season this year. We’ve seen the benefits of Facebook Wave in promoting local products. Wedding oriented desi sarees can also have such a wave. Besides, there can be a survey about what kind of sarees people want for weddings. We have survey expert Popy Sarkar, so we can do it easily. These seem to play a major role in the promotion of desi sarees.

Promoting Deshi Menswear:

The participation of men in our Deshi Ponno e-commerce industry is very negligible. We still don’t see enough men as buyers and sellers in our industry. But there is a huge market for desi clothes centered around men.  So how can we create the popularity of desi clothes or fabrics among men?

It is not very difficult. Even though this  industry is women-centric, but women are the biggest buyers of menswear.  Most of the men in our country are also largely dependent on women for buying their attires. Mother may buy son’s clothes, wife buys husband’s clothes, daughter buys father’s clothes.  And the fact that there are numerous variations of desi fashionable and traditional wears for men, which needs to be promoted better in our women-centric industry.

The most effective move would be to make a wave with deshi menswear.  Facebook Wave is the best way to promote very quickly.  Many new customers will be created through the wave, with whom a survey can be conducted. From this, entrepreneurs can understand the customer’s needs, likes, dislikes, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, etc.  Then to get long term results you need to blog about menswear desi clothes, which will have information, pictures and stories about all kinds of clothes.  Such a step is expected to play a very good role in popularizing our desi menswear. 

Already Khadi, Batik and Khesh fabrics are popular making comfortable shirts, panjabis and fotuas for men. And there also have Jamdani, Silk, Katan and Benarasi fabrics to make exclusive menswear. So we have many options like these to choose to maintain Men’s fashion, which need more promotion.

In the last three years, we have seen significant improvement in promoting deshi ponno on the Internet. Now, we can find posts about almost all the local products. The recent crisis about the price of the US Dollar against Bangladeshi Taka should encourage all of us to buy and promote local products. While we cannot buy products every day, we surely can promote it through social media. It is possible. Anyway, I can just spend 5-10 minutes writing a post about Bangladeshi products on Facebook. 

Writers:

Razib Ahmed,
Former President, e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB)
&
Khatun-A-Jannat Asha,
Researcher, Deshi Ponno e-Commerce.
Khatun-A-Jannat Asha
This is Khatun-A-Jannat Asha from Mymensingh, Bangladesh. I am entrepreneur and also a media activist. This is my personal blog website. I am an curious woman who always seek for new knowledge & love to spread it through the writing. That’s why I’ve started this blog. I’ll write here sharing about the knowledge I’ve gained in my life. And main focus of my writing is about E-commerce, Business, Education, Research, Literature, My country & its tradition.
https://en.khjasha.com

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