Sri Lanka’s revamped handlooms sector - Ceylon Handlooms- has received a new impetus as SriLankan Airlines has begun to use them in their plush passenger cabins.
Our $ 13 Mn Ceylon Handlooms have made inroads to provide comforts of premium international passengers and SriLankan airlines’ wise choice is a good example of the quality of our handlooms, said the Minister of Industry & Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
Having identified regional level handloom production needs, we are now forging ahead with our new handlooms taskforce to identify suitable Private Public Partnership models to move the sector forward, he added.
Minister Bathiudeen announced this on 28 June in the aftermath of the progress review meeting of the National Level Task Force (NLTF) at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Colombo. The NLTF was formed on December 22 by the Minister to revamp Sri Lanka’s handloom sector which started work on 10 January by sketching sector’s future roadmap.
Lankan handlooms, in addition to the domestic market, are absorbed by Italy, Maldives, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Thailand, Netherlands and Norway. According to the Exports Development Board (EDB) under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the handloom exports valued $ 0.90 Mn in 2009 rose in 2010 to $ 1.5 Mn and in January-October 2011, stood at $ 1.17 Mn. EDB expects the handloom exports to hit $ 2.24 Mn in 2015.
Under our new initiative to support the sector, the National Entrepreneurs Development Authority (NEDA), EDB, Textile Department all of which are under the Ministry Industry & Commerce will lend support to build production, business and marketing capacity to this sector so that more private sector resources are enlisted to boost it. From today we are also directly enlisting Provincial Councils in our efforts” Minister Bathiudeen revealed. We are looking at a complete buyback system and also to give better pay for the weavers of this premium product which has the coveted geographical indicators potential if positioned well, the Minister further stated.