Handicrafts icons of pan-national identity

Kathmandu, December 1:

“Handicrafts are part of our larger national identity. Traditional crafts and designs should be promoted,” said Asta Laxmi Shakya, Minister for Industry speaking at the annual exhibition of Fair Trade Group Nepal.

She added that different trade groups have been working to promote handicrafts not only at the national but international level also and urged that each should encourage promotion of handicraft sector through fair trade and establish the brand at the international level.

“We are not poor,” Minister Shakya said adding that were great possibilities of development through resources available in the country such as hydropower, minerals and tourism. She rued that due to lack of proper research on resources, Nepal was lagging behind in economic development.

Shakya said fair trade discourages discrimination and helps in the promotion of rural areas. She said that as there were many villages in Nepal, the living standards of people there should be upgraded and added that this would be possible only through employment opportunities. “The handicraft sector is one area which generates large-scale employment,” she said.

The two-day event has been organised to raise awareness about the concept of Fair Trade among the people and to promote Nepali handicrafts in the domestic market.

“With 27 stalls, the fair is promoting local food products along with

traditional crafts,” Chandra Prasad Kacchipati, president, World Fair Trade Organisation Asia said, “There is a growing demand for food products in the world market,

amd we have added tea, coffee, pickles, organic products in the fair.”

According to Kacchipati, the fair aims at encouraging marginalised producers. “More than 35,000 people are engaged in this sector. Eighty per cent are women. Promotion of handicrafts and alternative employment are the basic aims,”he added.