Thanks to upcoming new year Lhosar, which falls on February 22, 2012, Nepali hand-woven carpet has found a ready market in Tibet at a time when demand from traditional markets like Europe and US has been on a downslide.
Impressive growth in demand from the northern neighbor has given a new lease of life to the Nepali carpet industry that has been struggling to survive amid shrinking market in Europe that still accounts for over 70 percent of the total carpet export from Nepal.
“To the relief of Nepali exporters, who are on the receiving end of a subdued demand from European markets, Nepali carpet has found a good market in Tibet that is also offering better price compared to European buyers. Upcoming Lohsar festival in Tibet has driven up demand for Nepali carpet,” revealed Gopal Krishna Joshi, Second Vice-president of Central Carpet Industries Association. The Tibetan price range is better than what is being offered by European buyers.
“Though demand from Tibet will be for a limited period only, this opportunity is a great relief,” Joshi added. He said over a dozen exporters have started production and export of carpets woven in Tibetan designs.
In a bid to diversify the international market, which is getting volatile and uncertain, exporters have already started to target other emerging buyers such as Brazil, Turkey, Japan and Gulf countries. However, traders said the number of manufacturers has continued to decline amid rising cost of production boosted by increasing price of wool – the key raw material – and labor cost.
Over the last year, price of wool and cotton yarn has risen to Rs 500 and Rs 165 from Rs 230 to Rs 105 per kg respectively. Minimum wages have also gone up by Rs 1,500 a month.
However, the volume of export has dropped by around 5 percent to 238,936 square meters though the export in terms of value has grown by 27 percent during the period compared to the corresponding period last year.