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Roadmap to bring in Ceylon Handlooms to Intl markets
11
Jan '12
The National Level Task Force (NLTF) formed on a high priority basis on December 22 by a top Minister for the development of Sri Lanka's handloom sector started work on 10 January on the loom industry's future roadmap as previously scheduled. The new national level project is expected to deliver value and professional structure to Sri Lanka's $ 13 Mn and growing handlooms sector.

“This effort will bring in Ceylon Handlooms brand to the international markets and also will upgrade and modernise in order to attract more youth to the industry to sustain its long term course. More importantly, this is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce with various stakeholders such as the private, cooperative and provincial council level industries and the Universities” announced Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 10 January at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce at Colombo 03.

Minister Bathiudeen announced this in the immediate aftermath of the in-depth, follow up discussion and presentations held on 10 January after the pioneering meet of the high level taskforce on 22 December at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

During the 10 January sessions representatives from the USAID, National Entrepreneurs Development Authority (NEDA), University of Moratuwa, Export Development Board, Department of Textiles, Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel, and reps from private sector handloom manufacturers, started work on the future industry roadmap of the promising Sri Lankan handlooms sector.

The stakeholders present reached consensus on the need for branding of country's handlooms based on its unique identity characteristics and also on the needs of high end international niches.

“We want to become the most sought after destination for niche handloom products” Minister Bathiudeen said. The 'Ceylon Handlooms' brand-name came to the favourable attention of the stakeholders and Minister Bathiudeen.

Currently, the country's handlooms, in addition to the domestic market, are absorbed by Italy, Maldives, Germany, France,United Kingdom, Thailand, Netherlands and Norway. According to the Exports Development Board (EDB) under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the handloom exports valued $ 0.90 Mn in 2009 rose in 2010 to $ 1.5 Mn and in January-October 2011, stood at $ 1.17 Mn. EDB expects the handloom exports to hit $ 2.24 Mn in 2015. The handloom textile export target for 2011 set by the EDB under the Ministry of Industries is US $ 1.29 million (Rs 146 million).

Sri Lanka's handloom sector is one of the low cost but high earning industries. Its annual production exceeds six million metres of looms with an estimated annual production value of Rs 1500 Mn ($ 13.19 Mn) all of which are absorbed by both local and international demand.

The production is labour intensive and the industry consumes less electricity & utilities while generating higher employment. At present, there are 511 weaving centres with 2971 weavers and more than 10000 looms in Sri Lanka assisted by 22 dying houses.

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