FHAN not to give up on dream project

KATHMANDU: To have a competitive edge over other market players, the Nepali handicraft industry is working to establish a handicraft village, handicraft emporium and various other infrastructure required for the development of the sector.

Earlier, Federation of Handicrafts Association of Nepal (FHAN) had made a tentative plan to develop a handicraft village that would have 12 products — one product having one cluster — and 20 enterprises.

According to FHAN's tentative plan, the clusters will be metalcraft, handmade paper, woollen and silk carpets, gems and jewellery, gold and silver, woodcarving, Thanka and modern paintings, potteries and ceramics, stone carving, pashmina and handloom products, folklore garments made from natural fabric and an auxiliary factory for accessories for handicraft products. The industry employs 1,33,524 people — 14.56 per cent of the total craft related employment in Kathmandu, according to the population census of 2002 AD.

FHAN was willing to develop its dream project — Handicraft Village — in the government's chosen area of Himal Cement Industry at Chobar but still there is no progress as government has not allocated fund and nor has it fixed the exact location for the handicrafts village. According to Pushkar Man Shakya, former president of FHAN, the association has drawn up its tentative plan for an eco-friendly handicrafts village. The village will also inform tourists about the ethnicity of Nepal.

“ We are now in the stages of final preparation and have formed a working committee that will discuss and inform about the concept and plans for the handicrafts village,” said Shakya. He added that talks are going on regarding the location of the handicrafts village, saying that the government seems concerned and positive this time.

Due to its lower scale of economy, handicrafts industry faces the problem of low productivity, high cost of production, inconsistent quality and inadequate volume of production. Each product has its own specific problem too. Absence of proper infrastructure is a major problem in production, processing and marketing.

According to handicraft industrialists, at the household scale, handicrafts production is suffering from low productivity. It neither has a scientific plant layout nor does it address key environmental concerns. Hence, the handicrafts village could be a place of tourist attraction and help trigger sales of handicrafts.

It can generate additional direct employment for 5,000-6,000 people. Indirect employment will be generated in the raw material supply chain and marketing, he said. The village will be product-centric.