The Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (Fhan) has named silver jewellery and wooden crafts as Products of the Year 2014.
The umbrella organisation has planned various programmes to promote these products as part of the celebration of its 41st anniversary and the Second Handicrafts Day that falls on Friday.
Fhan started to celebrate the day as Handicraft Day from last year.
Fhan President Hem Ratna Shakya said they had decided to promote the products due to concerns over their declining exports in recent years. “We have planned to promote the products in order to boost their exports that have been on a downward trend in recent days,” he added.
According to Shakya, they will focus on silver products and wooden crafts to promote them at international trade fairs next year. “Besides, we will also concentrate on creating new designs and try to call on the government to resolve the problem of shortages of raw materials,” he added.
According to Fhan, the US, Europe and Japan are the largest importers of Nepali silverware and wooden crafts. However, exports of these products have been dwindling in recent years. According to Fhan statistics, the export of silver products declined to Rs 184.04 million in 2012-13 from Rs 222.06 in 2011-12. The export earnings from wood crafts decreased to Rs 89.05.
Although the government’s Nepal Trade Integration Strategy has identified silver products among the main exportable items, shipments have been going downhill continuously for a number of years. Juni Bajra Bajrac-harya, general secretary at the Lalitpur Handicraft Association, said the drop in exports was mainly due to the inability to create new designs as importers were growing tired of the same old traditional patterns.
“There is a need to promote the latest designs to compete in the international market,” he added. “In addition, the sector has been hit by problems like surging prices of silver and shortages of skilled manpower.”
source: ekantipur, 14 DEC 2013