Bangladesh's handicraft export may make little progress over years

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Bangladesh's handicraft export produces little progress over years
Bangladesh's handicraft sector cannot flourish according to the expectations due to a lack of insurance policy support, sector insiders said.

Although the demands for handcraft products have increased worldwide, the country's export volume has remained almost stagnant through the years, said the leaders of the industry, while talking to The Financial Express.

The local industry cannot compete in the international marketplace in the lack of required raw products, adequate artisans, essential design creation mechanism, research works, infrastructures, etc, they mentioned.

Golam Ahsan, president of the Bangladesh Handicrafts Companies and Exporters Association - commonly known as Banglacraft, said they were struggling these times as a result of impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

The production cost of per unit of handicraft items has increased 20 %, he said, however the prices of the products contain not increased in the international market.

Asked, the Banglacraft president said buyers were asking the firms to fulfil even more compliance requirements.

Besides, the costs of recycleables and wages of employees have also increased recently. However, the production of essential natural recycleables like jute and hogla (elephant grass) possesses declined following floods last year.

All these bring about the upsurge in production cost, Ahsan explained.

Though handicraft can be an industry rooted in traditions of the terrain, the sector is ignored in the united states, he ventilated his frustration.

Meanwhile, China and Vietnam earn an enormous currency out of this sector. For instance, Vietnam earns US$ 900 million a calendar year from handicraft export, according to the Banglacraft.

Alternatively, Bangladesh earns about US$ 20 million every year from the export of handicraft goods despite having a huge probable, said the association.

Asked how exactly to bring qualitative alters in the sector, the association leaders said if they wished to boost up earnings from handicraft export, the amount of artisans would have to be increased to lowest 1.0 million from the prevailing 100,000.

Furthermore, design development centres and much-needed research do the job are had a need to help the industry cope with the changing circumstances.

But these facilities cannot be ensured since Banglacraft's inception in 1979, they expressed their frustrations.

For the time being, the export earnings from handicraft sector in the seven a few months of the existing fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 have increased due to growing demand for environment-friendly products across the globe.

During the July-January period of the current fiscal calendar year, handicraft exporters earned US$19.61 million, up by 48.22 % from the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, in line with the data available from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The sector earned US$ 13.23 million in the seven months of last FY.

The united states earned $20.52 million through the FY 2019-20 and $19.95 million in FY 2018-19.

Referring to the global demands pertaining to handicraft goods, Banglacraft president explained handicrafts had turn into an essential part in several nations in Europe, America and Asia as a result of the environment-friendly top features of the products.

Subsequently, the demand for these products has increased actually in the pandemic, since customers in the developed countries today use green products for their lifestyle, he mentioned.

Despite the global demand, Bangladeshi handicraft export volume isn't increasing, he lamented.

To accomplish attractive earnings out of this sector, Ahsan sought execution of draft policy that was followed in 2015.

Because of various issues, he said, the policy is yet to be executed.

Many useful recommendations were made in the draft policy just like introducing a craft village, research and design development works, etc - implementation of those suggestions can transform the handicraft industry for better, he said.

If the raw materials, including hogla and cane, are cultivated commercially, the scarcity of the fundamental ingredients for making handicraft items could be addressed, he opined, demanding the federal government support in this respect.

According to companies, Bangladesh exports handicraft goods to more than 50 countries like United states, German, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Japan, etc.

The exportable item comprises handmade attires, various items made out of natural raw products such as baskets, showpieces, terracotta, pottery and handmade carpets.

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