Saarc handicrafts exhibition kicks off

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Saarc handicrafts exhibition kicks off

Nov 20, 2014-

Saarc Handicrafts Exhibition and Handicraft Trade Fair of Nepal kicked off in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu, on Thursday.

Organised jointly by the Federation of Handicrafts Association of Nepal (FHAN), SAARC Cultural Centre Sri Lanka, and Nepal Trade Integration Strategy of the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, Ministry of Industry, the expo aims to promote exports and develop the domestic handicrafts market.

The five-day expo has 209 stalls showcasing pashmina and woollen products, silver jewellery, metal statue and craft, handmade paper products, cotton and natural fibre products, woodcraft, stone craft, ceramics, paubha and thanka painting, bone and horn products, leather items, beads and bamboo products.

The expo also has a separate pavilion with 40 stalls of other South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Maldives.

Inaugurating the event, Industry Minister Mahesh Basnet said the ministry plans to open “Handicrafts Village” in the five development regions to promote the local handicrafts industry. He said the government will launch programmes to promote the exports.

“Handicrafts have a great potential in domestic and international markets,” he said, adding the industry can also play a crucial role in promoting entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation.

According to the association, 1.1 million people are directly/indirectly involved the handicrafts industry, which is estimated to be worth Rs 13 billion. Nepal exported handicrafts worth Rs 5.03 billion last fiscal year, up 15 percent year-on-year, FHAN data show.

FHAN President Hem Ratna Shakya demanded the government offer subsidised loans, opportunity in international expos and other competition and facilitation programmes to boost the sector. “We expect the export to rise 20 percent to Rs 6 billion next year, and we want government support,” he said.

SAARC Cultural Centre President GLW Samarasinghe said the exhibition could open up a new avenue in the development of the handicrafts sector of the region. “We can maximise the market with improved quality of products, so this fair could play an important role in transferring new technology and style,” he said.

Pradip Jung Pandey, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), underscored the need for setting up a research and development centre to make the local handicraft industry able to compete with international products.

Art and craft competition, fashion show, jewellery week and various seminars and workshops on designing handicrafts and promoting and branding are part of the event. The organisers have expected 300,000 footfalls and Rs 100 million transaction.

Meanwhile, FHAN felicitated 25 traders who exported handicrafts worth more than Rs 50 million each.

Published: 21-11-2014 11:05

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