HANDECEN’s new projects

KATHMANDU: Handicraft Design and Development Center (HANDECEN) — an undertaking of Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN) — in coordination with the government will starting three projects from July 8.

The aim of the projects is to develop new technology and train new manpower in the handicraft sector.

FHAN president Pushkar Man Shakya said, “The government has granted Rs 1.55 million for the three projects. These projects are pashmina product design and development, silver jewellery development and marketing, and Lokta paper based product designing and development.” He added that the Micro Development Fund under the Ministry of Industries is funding the three projects.

He clarified, however, that the issues regarding HANDECEN are included in the industrial and commercial policy but the policy is yet to be approved. Though a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed regarding HANDECEN project operation, it was not implemented and there is no regulation in this regard.

In this condition, FHAN pursued the establishment of Handicraft Design and Development Center (HANDECEN) and, in 2004 the government expressed its commitment to support the establishment and operation of the center through the budget. However, due to political instability, the budget commitment could be availed of only after great difficulty, said Shakya.

“The government granted Rs 20 lakh for the infrastructure development of HANDECEN and a MoU was signed between the government and FHAN about granting equal amount for the five year project fund, still we are on our internal resources,” he said adding that the MoU date is set to expire this year but no initiatives have been taken to extend it.

With limited resources, FHAN is operating HANDECEN for the benefit of handicraft enterprises. It covers new design development, prototype development, counseling, skill development and counseling. These services are well received in handicraft sector.

Nepal’s handicraft export has recorded little growth for many years.

The reason for such sluggish growth is attributed to marginal investment in design and product development efforts.