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Nepal: Handicraft exports inch up 2.55pc in first halfMonday, March 23, 2015 > 11:58:02
Handicraft exports inched up 2.55 percent to Rs 1.65 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) said. According to the central bank, Nepal’s handicraft exports amounted to Rs 1.60 billion during the same period last year.
Handicraft exporters attributed the rise in shipments to swelling demand mainly from the US, Europe and Canada. Hem Ratna Shakya, president of the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (Fhan), claimed that exports were higher than shown by the official data.
“Recently, there has been an increase in demand for Nepali handicrafts from the US and European markets,” said Shakya, adding that the actual growth rate would be around 18 percent.
NRB’s stats show that exports to both India and overseas countries were up. Handicraft shipments to overseas countries grew to Rs 1.48 billion from Rs 1.36 billion while exports to India increased to Rs 48.8 million from Rs 41.7 million.
Shakya said that demand was rising mainly for felt products, silver jewellery, thanka and paubha paintings, pashmina products and utility goods in the US and Europe. He said that exports of felt products alone had surpassed Rs 1 billion in the first six months of this fiscal year.
According to Fhan, decoration items, shoes and cushion covers made of felt are the fastest selling products in these countries. “Recently, demand has also grown for pashmina sweaters and shawls,” said Shakya.
Of late, Canada has been emerging as a major market for Nepali handicrafts, according to Fhan. Apart from traditionally exported handicrafts, ceramic products, metal crafts and silver jewellery have been attracting buyers from the US and Canada.
Shakya said that the establishment of a cadmium testing lab at the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology three years ago had also helped push up exports of silver jewellery. “Many big exporters have been exporting their products only after receiving cadmium free certificates from the lab.”
However, exports to China have plunged to Rs 113 million from Rs 203.7 million during the review period. Shipments of metal crafts and pashmina products to the northern neighbour have fallen sharply. Shakya said that cheaper products manufactured in China had been affecting exports of Nepali handicrafts.