Silk sector trudging on rough road

KATHMANDU: There is demand for 250 tonnes of silk in the local market but only two tonnes are being supplied. Silk is mainly used in pashmina, garment and carpet production — some of the major exports of Nepal. The current situation is such that leave aside export prospects, even the local demand cannot be fulfilled.

According to Silk Association

of Nepal (SAN) president

Shankar Prasad Pandey, silk that is used in many of the exportable products here is imported mostly from India and China. The local demand and supply are completely mismatched.

SAN is a non-government apex body of exporters, weavers,

reelers, green cocoon producers, farmer’s groups and professionals in the sericulture field. It was

set up in 1992 with the main

aim of planning, organising and promoting sericulture and

silk product development activities. It supports developing commercially viable sericulture enterprises for providing sustainable livelihood and equitable opportunities to rural people, thus contributing to the economic development of the nation.

According Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN) former president Pushkar Man Shakya, silk industry is in need of special packages and stimulus from the government. Shakya said that earlier the government took initiatives by establishing sericulture centre at Bandipur but it failed to do the needful for its further development. “The government should be responsible for the development of sericulture sector,” he added.

Shakya said, “Though there

is high demand for silk in the

market, we are unable to meet

the local demand. Silk is imported from South India and China.

The government should support programmes for creating

awareness among farmers and encourage sericulture.”

According to Shakya, along with handicraft products, carpet and pashmina, pure silk also has its own market abroad and at

the local level. The market variables and factors should be studied and along with collective effort and coordination, the silk industry should be given special concern so that it becomes a major foreign currency earner and employment generator.

SAN national programme coordinator Suman Bhagat said

there are 11 districts involved in silk production. Among the major silk producing districts are Ilam, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Dhading, Syangja and Tanahun.

There are seven industries

involved in silk production.

From farming to fabric, there is a total number of 7500 people employed in this sector.