October 29, 2020: Businesses across Nepal continue to reel under severe implications of the coronavirus pandemic despite the resumption of business activities after a hiatus for six months.
The nationwide lockdown followed by trade restrictions severely impacted small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) like handcraft that accounted for a larger share of Nepal’s foreign exchange earnings.
According to the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal, the country’s handicraft exports are expected to drop by 70% next year as orders plunged significantly due to the pandemic.
Over 70% of the handicraft products that were put on hold have been exported in the last three months.
According to the Federation, Nepali handicraft exports dropped by 32% to NPR 3.64 billion in the last fiscal 2019-20 from NPR 5.37 billion in the previous fiscal year.
Even the domestic handicraft market has witnessed low demand as tourist arrivals in the country dropped significantly due to the pandemic.
Local handicraft shops in tourist locations like Thamel, the Durbar Squares in Patan, Bhaktapur, and Kathmandu have been closed.
Source: Nepali Sansar