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Handloom sector has unutilized potential – expert
Mar '10
It is a matter of concern that the renowned handloom sector of Bangladesh persistently faces problems despite the fact that handloom garments are quite popular amongst fashionable youngsters.

The one burning question on the lips of experts is as to why till date the enormous potential vested in it to serve as laudable income and employment generator has not been utilized?

The authorities have remained greatly inactive in exploiting its complete potential in spite of the fact that, it provides employment to around ten million people and satisfies a significant portion – around 50 percent of the domestic textile requirement.

The sector has been completely overlooked and this is something that the annual handloom exhibitions have failed to conceal. Experts allege that about 37 percent of entire country's handlooms are currently not being utilized owing to lack of government support. Nonetheless, private ventures are performing well.

Reportedly, around 0.1 million looms that constitute 70 percent of the entire strength in Narsingdi district which was formerly termed as the Manchester of Bengal, have ceased to operate for over past 35 years, rendering around 80,000 weavers jobless. Like situations exist even in other districts. Self-interest promoting intermediaries and non-availability of handloom friendly credit on time are believed to be the major concerns responsible for this.

Free flow of smuggled and imported fabrics which considerably are outcome of tax free consignments solely meant for the RMG sector which is 100 percent export- oriented, also creates adverse impact.

Despite these constrictions, the handloom sector contributes 63 percent of the textile production in the country, with value addition of a minimum of Taka ten billion. 'What excellent results can be derived if the sector were to receive even a little bit of government attention', is the question on every experts lips.

Most of the country's demand for basic products like saris, lungis, bed sheets, towels, etc., is met by handloom industry. Considering the demand for handloom products, there is no point in neglecting such a labour-intensive sector, when it is crystal clear that it has potential to generate traditional employment opportunities, directly and indirectly and that too at a economical cost than powerlooms, opine experts from the sector.

As demonstrated by the smart promotion of 'Grameen Check' and the triumph of other trendy or 'exclusive', boutiques, 100 percent cotton handloom products can be nurtured for securing high-class customers within the country and internationally, irrespective of the cost.

Bangladeshi workers in the Middle East and South East Asian countries generate a good deal of demand even for the usual 'ganchas', bed sheets and covers. Reportedly, the RMG sector has replaced imported fabrics with handloom-spun material with regards to some specific items, thereby augmenting value of their export worthy products. If the government was to take a few creative initiatives, it would be possible to prop up the industry.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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