Handicrafts shipped to around 80 countries

June 13, 2009 - Nepal

Nepali handicraft goods saw an export hike of 17 percent in the first nine months of ongoing fiscal year. Weakening of Nepali currency is the reason behind this growth, noted exporters.

Nepali handicraft goods worth Rs. 2.22 billion have been exported to around 80 different countries between mid-July 2008 and mid-April 2009. These exports stood at Rs. 1.89 billion in the corresponding period last year, revealed the Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN).

However, in terms of US currency, the exports of handicraft products from Nepal in the nine months of this fiscal had fallen by 0.3 percent to US$29.51 million. During the first nine months of the current fiscal, dollar was valued between Rs. 68.85 and Rs. 80.15, whereas in the same period of last fiscal year it averaged between Rs. 64.45 and Rs. 65.44.

But the increase in US dollars against the Nepali currency doesn’t provide a blanket explanation for the increment recorded by certain export items. For instance, exports of Pashmina products went up as the Pashmina companies diversified their products range.

These products witnessed an increase of 31 percent and touched Rs. 573.65 million in first nine months of this fiscal. This is because, exporters of Nepal, now export wide range of Pashmina products, including sweaters and ponchos along with Pashmina shawls.

This year, Nepali Pashmina products made up for 26 percent of the total handicraft exports. These pashmina products were exported to around 40 countries of the world, while 35 percent of the total Pashmina products, worth Rs. 200.95 million were exported to the US alone, making that country the biggest importer of Nepali Pashmina goods.

In these nine months, exports of woolen products also went up by 27 percent to Rs.336.95 million. These exports make up 15 percent of the total handicraft exports. Exports of other textile items such as felt, cotton, hemp and Dhaka products also witnessed an increase, in terms of both, Nepali as well as US currency.

While the export of non-textile items such as exports of silver jewelry, which amounted to 12 percent of total handicraft exports, also experienced a marginal growth of 8 percent and touched Rs. 265.05 million. But this figure fell down by nine percent in US dollar terms.