Kathmandu, December 23
Export of Nepal-made silver products has gone up by 54.4 per cent, thanks to a surge in demand of Nepali silverware and jewellery in the European market lately due to improvement in the quality of domestic silver products.
According to statistics of Nepal Rastra Bank, Nepal exported silverware and jewellery worth Rs 94.8 million in the first four months of the current fiscal year as against exports of Rs 61.4 million during the same period of 2015-16.
Entrepreneurs dealing in silver business have cited the surging export of domestic silverware to improved quality in Nepal-made silver products over the last few years.
“Domestic manufacturers of silver products have maintained high quality in their products, especially after the European nations, some three years back, warned they would stop importing Nepali silver products if the goods contained cadmium and fail to maintain other quality standards,” informed Dharma Raj Shakya, president of Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (FHAN).
Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal that looks like silver. Its use in silver products is banned in European nations due to extreme negative impacts of cadmium on human health.
“Following the warning from European nations, a major market of Nepali silver products, manufacturers here have stopped using cadmium in silverware as its use posed a threat to their exports,” Shakya said.
Moreover, the government in 2014 developed a Silver Testing Lab to assure that domestic products are up to the European standards. Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM), in coordination with FHAN, had set up the laboratory on NBSM premises.
After the warning from European countries, a majority of domestic manufacturers started testing the quality of their silver products at the NBSM laboratory before exporting them, stated Shakya. According to him, manufactures today export silverware and jewellery that have been certified for their quality by the government. “This has resulted in increasing demand for Nepali silver products in European markets,” added Shakya.
Likewise, domestic silver dealers also say that export of silver products and jewellery has increased of late due to the increasing trend of overseas Nepalis holding cultural functions like marriages in countries they reside in.
“Even though they are living abroad, many non-resident Nepalis prefer to conduct religious ceremonies in Nepali culture, for which the use of gold and silver products and ornaments is a must,” informed Mani Ratna Shakya, former president of Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers’ Association, adding that Nepali silverware are also in high demand in Buddhist monasteries around the world.
A version of this article appears in print on December 24, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.