Bangladesh handloom industry, a major source of earning for many rural people, is facing tough time. The handloom weavers are struggling for survival and are now forced to shift to other profession due to low wage coupled with lack of capital from the government.
According to the BHB (Bangladesh Handloom Board) data, about 0.129 million handlooms were closed down (made inactive) over the last three decades due to fund crisis, throwing over 0.10 million weavers out of employment.
Over 11 million people are employed in the handloom industry, which meets nearly 50 per cent of the country's fabric requirement.
The weavers are withdrawing from traditional handlooms due to a lack of necessary capital. The picture of the handloom industry is the same in every part of the country.
Value addition by the handloom sector stands at Tk 10 billion. It meets over 40 percent of domestic textile requirement, accounting for 63 percent of textile production. The handloom industry meets the common people's requirements for saris, lungis, bed sheets and the like.
Lack of capital is one of the key reasons behind closing down of a significant number of handlooms in the country, said Marfat Ali, an inactive handloom owner of Delduar upazila under Tangail district. He will be able to start his inactive handloom again if the government provides fund support .
Presently, the major problem of the industry is that the weavers do not get adequate wages for their labour. A senior weaver earns about Tk 2,600 to Tk 3,500 per month. Junior weavers get much less, around Tk 1,500 to Tk 2,000. As a result many weavers do not want their children to come to this profession.
Moreover, replacement of the labour-intensive handloom factories by mechanised power looms has created a serious problem of unemployment in handloom sector of the country. Illegal marketing of different fabrics is also responsible for the decline of Bangladesh's traditional handloom industry.
The BHB disbursed Tk 597 million for 52,508 handlooms until January last.
There are over 0.5 million handlooms in the country according to the handloom census of 2003. Of the amount, some 0.129 million are outmoded till date.
General Manager of BHB Hafiz Uddin said that they are trying their best to revive the country's handloom industry. They started over 50,000 inactive handlooms through microcredit programme again. The programme is going on. The government will take new steps to develop the sector.
BHB provides microcredit to the weavers according to government directive.
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