Help sought for stone craft

Kathmandu, March 15:

Though exports of stone craft items witnessed growth, experts at an interaction on

‘Importance of stone craft and solutions to problems faced by stone craft sector’, urged for more trained hands in this sector to maintain product quality.

The export of stone craft grew by 250.57 per cent to Rs 2.213 million in the first six months of this fiscal year over the same period last year,” said Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN) data.

“Handicraft sector — compared to other sectors — is growing and stone craft has shown a sudden growth but compared to its growth, the number of people involved in this profession is decreasing,” said Pushkar Man Shakya, president of FHAN. He added that around one million people are directly or indirectly involved in the handicraft sector but FHAN needs more qualified and skilled people for the stone craft sector. “ We should arrange various training programmes to increase manpower in the stone carving sector the sector requires less investment and yet gives greater benefits to exporters,” Shakya said.

According to FHAN general secretary Dharma Raj Shakya, Nepal is rich in stone craft since ancient times but now it is facing number of problems due to apathy of related bodies and the government.

Talking about the lack of government concern regarding investigation of illegal export of precious stone carvings, culture expert Dr Govinda Tandon, “Many of our ancient stone carvings have been illegally taken to foreign countries but the government is silent in this regard. Now we are losing our grip in terms of producing quality stone craft.”

The top ten countries importing stone craft from Nepal are Germany, America, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Taiwan, Japan and India. Stone craft is exported to more than 30 countries. “ If there was focus on production of quality stone craft and the formation of effective policies, rules and regulations, Nepali stone stone craft could be exported to more countries,” said Tandon.