FHAN decides self-help is best

KATHMANDU: Federation of Handicrafts Association of Nepal (FHAN) is set to launch its own cadmium testing laboratory in the coming fiscal year. On the other hand, although the government had assured of granting 49 per cent financial support and providing authority to FHAN, there is no move for the financial support or granting the sole authority for cadmium testing certification.

According to Pushkar Man Shakya, vice chairman of World Craft Council for Asia Pacific Region and former president of Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN), it’s been a

long time that the government assured of its support for the development of a cadmium testing laboratory.

“The government had promised us 49 per cent financial support,” said Shakya adding that even if there

is no financial support they will establish the cadmium testing laboratory utilizing their internal resources. FHAN hopes to establish the cadmium testing laboratory in the new fiscal year.

For the preparation of plans and procedures and

working modality, FHAN has formed a working committee. The working committee in coordination with Nepal Bureau of Standards and Measurement is planning to draw up its working modality.

Shakya also urged the government to grant the association the facility to issue authorisation certificates. According to him, to import the

required equipment and machine for the laboratory FHAN will have to make a total investment of about Rs 11.7 million. FHAN, along with the representatives of the handicraft sector, has time and again sought certification authority so that it can import a cadmium testing machine

People related to the handicraft sector have lobbied with the government to take strong steps to check and control the use of cadmium in silver ornaments and products to make Nepal a ‘cadmium free’ export zone as since recently EU has restricted its import of Nepali silver jewellery and ware.

Cadmium has been traced in products exported from Nepal to Europe, and this has raised alert among buyers there of silver products from Nepal. Due to the presence of cadmium in the silver products exported EU had warned it would ban silver import by 2010 and now Nepali silver jewellery is banned in EU.

The credibility of the

extensive silver export from Nepal to Europe is hit as the cadmium problem has not been dealt with. Nepal holds 33 per cent of the European market in silver product trade, and if the use of cadmium is not stopped it may completely lose the market.