On high wind

While most sectors of the industry in the country are facing hard times it is highly encouraging that the handicrafts industry is faring pretty well. As a matter of fact, the export of these commodities have been experiencing a steady growth over the years. Figures from the last nine months show that the total export of handicrafts has increased by as much as 17 per cent as compared to the same period in the last fiscal year. What makes this even more a matter of satisfaction is that handicrafts make up a biggest exports from Nepal. Therefore, it stands to reason that this industry should be promoted in order to further boost exports which obviously means more earning and employment opportunities. Nepali handicrafts are famous worldwide for their high quality, particulaly pashmina and silver ornaments. Because of the rise in the price of gold in the international market, silverware is much in demand. Pashmina accounts for about 26 per cent of the total handicrafts export. There is no doubt that the reason for this is that the handicraft goods are made by skilled craftsmen, and artisans.

At a time when we are saddled up with of massive unemployment, engaging more people in the sector could alleviate this problem to some extent. Those engaged in the handicrafts industry should be provided with all the necessary incentives so that this trade would foster and continue to grow. At present, the economy of the country is in a bad shape and the exports of most other exportable commodities are dwindling. Also, in recent times, there has been much industrial unrest which has led to the decline in the manufacturing of other exportable items. Load shedding has led to the closure of many industries and most of them are operating below capacity. Fortunately, the handicrafts industry has not faced this predicament and it is faring well. This shows it has much prospects in the future to grow further, thereby, earning more hard needed foreign currency.

Thus, the plan afoot to set up a proposed handicrafts village should receive serious attention. The village is to be set up through a mutual fund from the investment of the handicraft sector itself. So far the government has not been involved in this venture. The government should be supporting it by providing the necessary investment for a handicrafts village would facilitate this industry furthermore. The Federation of Handicrafts Association of Nepal (FHAN) has the target of having around 200 houses in the handicrafts village. It is known that so far around 20 industries have forwarded their letter of interest in this project. The handicrafts village is a novel idea as far as the handicrafts industry in this country is concerned. However, once there is a guarantee of security to this initiative, then in all likelihood there would be more investment forthcoming. Simply the fact that this industry is doing well, whereas, most others are in dire straits is all the reason why handicrafts should be in the priority listing amongst industries that specialise in products for exports. In this way the handicrafts industry would continue to grow and remain one of the major foreign currency earner.