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26 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM

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Robust growth in exports of handicrafts

July export earnings post 53pc growth
SHARIF AHMED, Dhaka

There has been robust year-on-year growth in handicrafts exports, thanks to the low capital investment in the sector, availability of raw materials, low production cost, access to loans and entry into new markets, said industry insiders.

According to the statistics of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), export earnings from handicrafts fetched USD 1.87 million in July FY2019–20, registering a 53.28 per cent growth from the USD 1.22 million earned during the same period in FY2018–19.

Ashrafur Rahman Faruque, the president of the Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufacturers' and Exporters’ Association (BHMEA), told The Independent that this industry only requires skilled human resources. The investment is nearly zero because all products are homemade and locally manufactured, he said.

He also said that the handicrafts industry did not require big capital-intensive machines and massive injections of funds.

Explaining three aspects of export growth, Faruque said value-addition to handicraft products, a skilled labour force and government support have helped boost the export growth of this sector.

Talking about product performance, Faruque said two products—‘shotorongi’ and terracotta—had recently been added to the export basket. This addition has already accelerated the growth of exports, he observed.

Terracotta is a soil-based craft, while ‘shotorongi’ is a handmade carpet manufactured in Rangpur district.

Talking about opportunities, Faruque, who also owns Nipun Crafts Ltd, said the SME Foundation, a government-owned organisation, had been offering loans with single-digit interest rates to new entrepreneurs to encourage the exports of handicrafts.

“Our wage rate is comparatively lower than that of other handicraft-producing countries. Moreover, all types of raw materials are available here,” he added.

Handloom fabrics, Faruque said, were being exported to Japan, Denmark, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden.   

Mentioning an opportunity, Faruque said: “Countries like China, Vietnam and Thailand, which are well known for producing handicraft products, are shifting to high-tech industries. This gives us an opportunity to capture the global market, which is a billion-dollar market at present.”

When asked about the size of the local market, the BHMEA president said it was Tk. 10,000–12,000 crore while 60 to 70 lakh people were directly or indirectly employed in this sector.         

Talking about the strengths of Bangladeshi handicraft products, Faruque said the country exported mainly two types of handicrafts—home furnishings and different types and forms of baskets made of bamboo, yarn, jute, cane and plastic.

“The home furnishing items exported from Bangladesh comprise pillow covers, jute bags, executive bags, laptop bags, shaving kit bags and ‘nakshi kantha’,” he added.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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