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Handicrafts gaining ground in local market

Even though a large chunk of Nepal’s handicraft output is exported, these products have been gaining a larger domestic market due to renewed appreciation of local crafts and skills. As a result, producers have started making handicrafts designed specially for local customers.

Traders said that textiles, silver items and metal craft were the best selling products in the Kathmandu valley.

Dilip Khanal, executive director of the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (FHAN), said that sales of handicrafts had swelled in the domestic market with the growing purchasing power of Nepalis. He added that growing awareness had also helped push up sales.

According to Khanal, handicraft goods worth more than Rs 4 billion were sold in the country last year. He said that textile items including pashmina, wool, felt, silk, cotton, hemp, allo and dhaka products were the largest selling items.

Likewise, under non-textile items, silver jewellery, metal craft, handmade paper products, wood craft, glass, leather goods, ceramics and bamboo products were the most popular products.

Khanal said that sales of statues, paubhas and art pieces were low because they were expensive items. “These products are especially sought after by tourists,” he added.

Sanjeev Poudel, manager of handicraft retailer Dhukuti, said that utility handicraft goods like garments, pashmina, cushion covers, copper products and ceramics cups were the fastest selling items in the Kathmandu valley. He added that sales of cushion covers, ceramic cups and copper items at his store amounted to more than Rs 1 million monthly. “These types of utility items are in high demand these days, and the market is growing by 25 percent annually,” he said.

Traders said that small decorative items made of bamboo and wood were also gaining popularity in the domestic market. “People are giving decorative items like flower buckets, lamp shades, earrings, bracelets, pen holders and show pieces made of bamboo as gifts these days,” said Rohini Rana, proprietor of Bambosa at Lazimpat. “I am selling Rs 100,000 worth of these items monthly.”

She added that it had become difficult to compete with Chinese handicrafts which are cheaper than local handicrafts .

“Due to the high cost of production, prices of our products are comparatively higher than Chinese handicrafts ,” she said. “However, in terms of durability and style, Nepali handicrafts are better.”

source: ekantipur, 05 Mar 2014

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