Handicraft exports tumble by double digits in first halfHandicraft exports tumbled by double digits in the first six months of the current fiscal year as manufacturers failed to fulfil orders due to a shortage of workers.
Handicraft exports tumbled by double digits in the first six months of the current fiscal year as manufacturers failed to fulfil orders due to a shortage of workers. According to the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal, shipments dropped 10.64 percent year-on-year to Rs2.56 billion in the first half of the fiscal year (mid-July to mid-January).
“We were not able to fulfil orders due to lack of manpower working in the sector,” said Dharma Raj Shakya, former president of the association. “Skilled craftsmen are going abroad.” The country’s export promotion policy is also not friendly towards the handicraft sector, he added.
According to him, the government provides a 5 percent cash incentive to handicraft exporters, but getting the money is a great hassle. “We are also worried about being competitive in the international market as Nepali handicraft products are relatively more expensive due to the high cost of production compared to Indian and Chinese products,” said Shakya.
There are myriad problems like getting raw materials from different provinces which have their own rules, high interest rate on bank loans and few promotional activities to publicise Nepali handicrafts.
“The government provides Rs2.5 million annually to organize handicraft fairs to promote local products, but that is very little,” said Surendra Bhai Shakya, president of the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal. “The cost of holding fairs has gone over Rs10 million. We have been asking the government to provide cash incentives to participate in international trade fairs to promote domestic products,” he said. Currently, handicraft entrepreneurs have to participate in international trade fair at their own expense.
Shipments of handicraft goods like allo, beads, bone and horn products, ceramics, cotton goods, dhaka, felt, glass, incense, metal craft, textile, paper, plastic, silk, stone and woollen products shrank 2.76 to 82.16 percent during the first six months of the current fiscal year.
Exports of bamboo, crystal, hemp, leather, paintings, pashmina, silver and wood craft swelled 1.27 to 180 percent.
The country exported paintings worth Rs41.6 million in the first six months of the current fiscal year compared to Rs14.86 million in the same period last year. The US, Canada, Europe, Japan, China and India are the major markets for Nepali handicraft products. Nepal exported Rs5.21 billion worth of handicraft products in the last fiscal year, down from Rs5.39 billion in the previous fiscal year.