Ceramics exports jump 45pc in first 5 months

- Sakchham Karki, Kathmandu

Jan 26, 2017-

Exports of ceramic products surged 45 percent in the first five months of fiscal 2016-17, reflecting a rebound from the earthquakes of 2015 and increased demand for handmade goods in the international market.

Nepal shipped ceramic products worth Rs13.3 million from mid-July to mid-December, up from Rs9.2 million during the same period in the last fiscal year, according to the latest statistics of the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (FHAN).

“The earthquakes of April and May 2015 destroyed many manufacturing units producing ceramic products, leading to a decline in exports,” said FHAN Deputy Director Rishi Raj Subedi. “The sector is back on its feet.”

Lately, demand for Nepali handmade ceramic products has gone up in the international market due to their improved quality. “Buyers are willing to pay a premium for handmade goods, which is propelling exports,” said Laxmi Kumar Prajapati, proprietor of Thimi Ceramics. 

Ceramic articles made of clay are used mainly for decorative and art purposes. Bhaktapur is the major supplier of ceramic products, and accounts for more than 70 percent of the exports. 

Palpa and Dang also are major hubs for the production of ceramic products. Traditional earthen pots, tiles and porcelain are their major products. 

The US is the largest importer of Nepali ceramic products. In the last fiscal year, Americans bought Rs10.1 million worth of ceramic products from Nepal. 

Another large importer of Nepali ceramic products is Germany. Shipments to Germany in the last fiscal year totalled Rs2.6 million. Canada imported Rs2.5 million worth of ceramic products from Nepal in fiscal 2015-16.

Over the last 10 years, exports of ceramic products hit a high of Rs36.8 million in fiscal 2013-14 and a low of Rs16.1 million in 2007-08.

Exports plunged following the devastating earthquakes as the major producer Bhaktapur was hard hit by the disaster.

“I started making earthen pots again only six months after the quake,” said Tanka Lal Shrestha who owns a workshop in Bhaktapur. “Many smaller ceramic makers returned to business a long time later.”

FHAN had extended support to ceramic producers and helped them get back on their feet after the disaster. 

“FHAN provided much assistance for the reconstruction of destroyed ceramic factories in Bhaktapur,” said FHAN Senior Assistant Pragyan Khanal. “We also worked with the World Craft Council to revive the sector.”

Published: 26-01-2017 09:39

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