(January 11, 2017)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said there is a great demand for locally made handicrafts in the international market therefore this sector should be promoted.
This is the only sector that is directly linked with the skilled women therefore its promotion will not only serve the cause of poverty reduction and women empowerment but also reduce unemployment while providing foreign exchange to the country, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that handicraft was once a major source of livelihood for millions of people but rising cost of inputs, difficult access to credit and poor marketing network, have brought the industry to its present dismal state.
Low prices, lack of proper marketing, want of exhibition centres, discouraging behaviour of the bureaucracy, and the rising costs of business were some reasons behind decline, he added.
The former Provincial Minister further said that millions of people are working in this sector but it is not organised while it continue to suffer due to the negligence of the authorities.
Besides that there is a long history of abusive techniques employed by the “middlemen” who give only meagre return to the artisans for their hard work, he said, adding that nothing has been done to save the artisans from the clutches of brokers.
The business leader said that promotion of handicraft sector will not only improve standard of living of million but also reduce pace of migration from rural areas to the cities.
Mian Zahid Hussain informed that the main hub of handicrafts in Pakistan is Sindh where around 80 percent of handicrafts are being made. This sector can get a boost if Chinese are invited to join hands with them as the industry in the friendly nation is suffering from rising cost of doing business.
Pakistan and China can capture a large share in the international market of handicrafts through cooperation, he said.
Revival of the sector lies in the development of infrastructure, facility of financial support, direct links between buyers and artisans, elimination of middlemen and improved marketing facilities, he concluded.