West Bengal’s own football brand, Joyee (Victor), has now been able to find a market in China.
Refugee Handicraft (RH), an autonomous body under the Bengal micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) department has recently bagged an order for supply for 850 footballs to China. RH started manufacturing footballs under the brand name Joyee from April last year and this is the first time the agency had been able to import them to any foreign country, confirmed the chairman of the RH managing committee and former footballer Manas Bhattacharya.
According to him, the Joyee brand name has different categories of footballs with different names like Trainer, Striker, Dribble and Challenger. “The Chinese consulate office in China had placed the order for 850 Challengers, which are best quality footballs under the Joyee brand,” he said.
According to him, RH is marketing the Joyee brand football on wholesale basis.
He also said that besides football, RH is also manufacturing and marketing volleyballs christened Smasher. “Both the footballs and volleyballs manufactured and marketed by us are approved by Sports Authority of India. Although currently we are operating on a wholesale basis, shortly we plan to enter direct retail marketing by opening our first showroom at South Kolkata,” Bhattacharya said.
Currently, RH is manufacturing these footballs and volleyballs for five different manufacturing units in Howrah and Hooghly districts. “Even some of the inmates of Alipore Central Jail in Kolkata are involved in manufacturing Joyee brand balls, We have plans to open manufacturing centres in all the 23 districts of Bengal in due course,” Bhattacharya said.
RH was set up in 1950 basically aiming to provide income opportunities to refugees coming from the- then East Pakistan or present Bangladesh by providing them a window to market their handicrafts products. “However, keeping in mind Bengal’s inherent association with soccer, RH started manufacturing footballs from last year. The entire idea was of the chief minister, who herself named the brand,” said a senior official from the state MSME department, who did not wish to be named.
He pointed out that before the beginning of Joyee brand footballs, Bengal’s football circuit was mainly dependent on balls coming from Jalandhar in Punjab. “However, considering the high price of balls coming from Jalandhar, the state MSME department decided to manufacture and market footballs,” the official said.
RH has already manufactured over right lakh footballs and volleyballs. “The monthly production is not constant and depends on the orders received by RH,” he said.
Source: Hindustan Times