South Asian Festival on Handicrafts ends on high note

Kathmandu, January 14

The three-day South Asian Festival on Handicrafts concluded in the Capital today on a high note exploring the possibilities of revival and market expansion of handicrafts and the entire craftsmanship in Nepal and the South Asian region.

Organised by the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF), the event basically identified the opportunities and challenges faced by the traditional handicraft business in the competitive global market.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the event, Minister for Industry Sunil Bahadur Thapa said that the mega handicraft event has not only brought together people of the entire region to explore markets for handicraft products but also provided an opportunity of learning from each others’ experience.

“PAF is a crucial programme to help reduce poverty in Nepal. It has succeeded in finding a durable solution for poverty alleviation by helping improve the living condition of the groups excluded from society on various fronts,” said Thapa.

Similarly, Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce Chandra Kumar Ghimire, said that Nepal has not been able to explore export potentialities of domestic handicraft products properly and urged for a collective effort between stakeholders to boost the export of different handicraft products.

“Export of handicraft products accounts for only seven per cent of the country’s total exports. As the handicraft sector is witnessing a tepid growth of only three per cent per annum, efforts should be made to accelerate the growth of the industry,” added Ghimire.

On the occasion, Rajiv Sethi, chairperson of Asian Heritage Foundation, India, highlighted the importance of handicraft products in the overall development of the country.

“Machines can easily wipe you out. They do what you can do in a cost effective way,” said Sethi, adding that if consumers do not give due recognition to the handicraft products and press for preserving their unique identity, nothing can stop machines from taking over the ancient craftsmanship.

“Culture can do what politics can’t. We stand to lose a lot if we underestimate culture,” Sethi said.

Likewise, Executive Director of PAF Nepal Nahakul KC, said that the development of handicraft industry can generate jobs, encouraging youth to explore livelihood options within Nepal.

Similarly, YB Thapa, vice chairman of PAF, stressed on the need to translate commitment into action for uplifting the handicraft sector.

Besides showcasing a wide range of products made by village artisans and conflict victims under the brand name ‘Nepal Ko’, the grand event also highlighted the need for collective effort in promoting the traditional craftsmanship that faces threat of extinction from machines.