Handicrafts sector needs more support

Kathmandu, February 3:

Entrepreneurs involved with the handicraft business have sought better market strategy to boost exports, although it has been increasing every year.

Export of handicraft products increased by 11 per cent in the fiscal year 2005-06, despite a deteriorating business climate and increased Maoist insurgency in the country.

According to Handicraft Association of Nepal (HAN), handicraft products worth Rs 2,849,476000 was exported to over 68 countries of the world in fiscal year 205-06. Over 40 kinds of handicraft products are being exported. These include Pashmina products, woollen goods, silver jewellery, handmade paper products, metal craft, silk products, cotton goods, wood craft, hemp/allo goods, leather goods and others.

Of the total handicraft products, woollen goods secure the highest export percentage that stands at 19 per cent followed by other products such as silver jewellery, metal products and other handmade products.

President of HAN, Pancha Ratna Shakya while addressing a press meet organised with a view to inform about the forthcoming seventh handicrafts trade fair, said that the handicrafts sector contributes significantly to the national economy. HAN, according to Shakya, has been involved in the promotion of handicrafts related enterprises. Equally important is the quality of handicrafts products to increase penetration in the global markets, said Shakya.

The forthcoming seventh handicrafts trade fair, according to Shakya, would focus on exploring handicraft products for their marketing promotion. Exchange of experiences, interaction on the techniques and issues involved in handicrafts export, modernisation of handicrafts products for better production including other issues are being discussed during the trade fair, said Shakya.

Bikash Ratna Dhakwa, coordinator of the seventh Handicraft Trade Fair Committee and vice-president of HAN, said that the trade fair scheduled from February 23 to 27 at Birendra International Convention Centre (BICC) would provide a good platform for handicrafts entrepreneurs from the district level and local producers to showcase their products and to boost relations between buyers and sellers and tourists visiting the country.

According to Dhakwa, most of the handicrafts products go to USA, Germany, Japan, UK, Italy, France and Canada. He said that about 120 stalls are being installed at the event with various handicrafts products from local and district level.

Indrani Sharma of Planet Finance, which is also supporting the event, said that the event would offer a unique opportunity for new European enterprises to see in depth Nepali handicrafts and kick-start trade contacts and develop new areas of businesses.

Sharma hoped that it would build long term business linkages for Nepali micro-entrepreneurs both locally and overseas by providing a platform for exchanging views. According to the Export Promotion Board (EPB), Nepal’s trade deficit in the fiscal year 2005-06 stood at over Rs 86 billion and the forthcoming trade fair would be helpful in curtailing the deficit. During the same year, of the total overseas trade, handicrafts alone contributed over 2.5 per cent.

The trade fair is being organised by HAN in cooperation with the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies, Export Promotion Committee (EPC), Asia Invest, European Aid Cooperation Office and Plant Finance. The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) is also involved in making the event a fruitful one.