Drastic drop in pashmina export

Kathmandu, July 27:

Over recent years, export of Nepali pashmina has declined drastically.

In 2056-57 BS, Nepal had exported pashmina products worth Rs 7.5 billion but export has now dropped to a meagre Rs 1.5 billion. To revive the lost glory of Nepali pashmina products, pashmina entrepreneurs have formulated their Code of Conduct (CoC).

“We have to maintain the quality of Nepali pashmina to reclaim our market,” said entrepreneurs here today at an interaction on the Code of Conduct of Pashmina Trademark held by Nepal Pashmina Industries’ Association (NPIA), ENTReC/UNDP and Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).

The association is also in the process to register a collective trade mark of Nepali pashmina for its identity and quality maintenance to compete in the global market. There will be a seven-member CoC regulatory authority to monitor and regulate it. Members failing to abide by the rules will be suspended from membership for upto a year and fined also.

“Effective monitoring of the CoC is a must to maintain quality,” Purushottam Ojha, commerce secretary, said, adding that it would also help reduce poverty as commercial farming of sheep

in the mountains could fetch them good income.

The CoC is not a compulsory regulation but developed by the concensus of pashmina entrepreneurs. It is a moral responsibility and depends on the self-discipline of members.

“But it has to incorporate environmental issues and labour issues also in order to get international recognition,” he said.

The reasons for shrinking Nepali pashmina’s market is identity crisis in the international market and failure to maintain the quality that Nepal was earlier famous for. Thus, the CoC will ensure that norms of transparency are followed to maintain quality.

Apart from that, Nepal has to compete with Chinese pashmina that has claimed 60 per cent of the total pashmina trade globally, entrepreneurs said. “To compete in the global market, we need collective effort,” association president Shanker Prasad Pandeya said adding that product diversification is also important.

The CoC — a joint initiative between the government and pashmina industries — will come into immediate effect as it has been made mandatory to get the trademark.

Pashmina is completely a Nepali product manufactured from wool of mountain goats (chyangra) reared in Nepal’s mountains above 3000 metres. The regulation will be updated time to time and it has to be followed by the members accordingly.

Naresh Chandra Lamichhane, consultant to the NPIA gave a presentation during the programme.

Pashmina is extremely fine cashmere wool obtained for textiles from the undergrowth beneath the coarse layers of wool growing on the backs of mountain goats in Nepal’s highe r altitudes.