Saree Makers of Sulebhavi

17 June 2019

Mahadevi Sidappa Bagana, 28 yo, is involved with her husband in the saree making business in Sulebhavi.

It has been a continued activity for 25 years, which is the only source of income for this family of four, having one son and a daughter who are both students. It is one of the main activity of this small village, with 500 to 600 families engaged in it.

They have 3 machines which they use to make the sarees, as we can see in the video. They own them entirely except for one part, the dole which is a crucial part of the machine. 

They have to borrow it, as well as the raw materials, to make the sarees. The person that provide it in exchange buy their sarees at a fixed price. They used the February 2015 loan of 15000 rupees to purchase machine materials

This is an example of proto-industry: they own the machines (except the dole) but they don’t buy the raw materials: they get it and sell the sarees to the same person who furnishes them. He sells them after to the local markets of Belgaum and Ramdarg.

Daily, a machine can weave 3 sarees, and it is done every day.

Economics of the activity

Here are their costs of production: 

- 500 rupees of electricity per month. 

- 200 rupees of monthly repair cost. 

- 3 litters of oil (1 per machine) per month, at 200 rupees the litter.

For the raw materials, they need 30kg of thread, at 400 rupees the kg, to make 115 sarees in average, depending on which material. That’s the part of the cost they don’t pay, it is supplied to them.

So the costs per month are 500 (electricity) + 200 (repair) + 600 (oil) = 1300 rupees. 

For the revenues: with 115 polyester sarees they get 7500 and 10 000 rupees for the cotton ones.

Since they have a daily production of 9 sarees, they make around 270 sarees per month. From those 270 sarees, if we split in half the production between polyester and cotton, we get 11739 rs of revenue for the former and 8804 for the latter. The monthly revenue is then something around 20183 rupees. 


Revenue minus cost makes 18 883 rs of profit, so 226596 rupees per year for the household in total, having no other source of revenues.