Nepal’s pashmina export revenues are plunging despite high priority accorded to the sector, say officials. According to Nepal Rastra Bank, export revenues were Rs. 2.45 bn in fiscal 2016-17, and dropped to Rs. 2.28 bn in 2017-18. Shipments in the first eight months of 2018-19 ending mid-July were worth Rs. 1.52 bn, down 1.14 per cent year-on-year.

Pashmina is one of Nepal’s major export earners. As government investment in the sector has failed to yield the desired results, there is a need to rigorously review the business process of Nepali pashmina, Sharad Bickram Rana, Executive Director of the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, said.

According to the association, Nepal imports almost all pashmina yarn primarily from China. Manang, Mustang and Dolpa districts are the largest producers of pashmina products among the 14 districts in the country where such products are manufactured. These three districts can annually produce at least 4 tonne of pashmina, according to a report.

Counterfeit products made of viscose and polyester too are a major worry for the industry now, said Durga Bikram Thapa, President of the Nepal Pashmina Industries Association. He gave the example of Nepal’s woolen carpet industry, which went from boom to bust in the last decade due to poor quality.

The pashmina industry also receives aid from international organisations like the World Bank and the International Trade Centre, a multilateral joint agency under the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations.

The International Trade Centre provided $1.8 mn to improve the quality of production and design and promote the collective pashmina trademark Chyangra in the international arena through its Pashmina Enhancement and Trade Support project. The project lasted from 2014 to 2017. The organisation has plans to extend the project, but is reportedly reluctant due to the slow progress of the Nepali pashmina sector.