In order to bolster the socioeconomic development of Bangladesh's weaver community, the government is set to shortly establish an entrepreneur village for handloom weavers.
To resolve the traditional capital shortage problem of handloom weavers, the government will come up with easy loans for handloom weavers to start small businesses in the village.
Textiles and Jute Minister, Golam Dastagir Gazi made this announcement while addressing the closing ceremony of a workshop entitled 'Weaving Policy-2020', organised by Bangladesh Handloom Board at JDPC conference room at Farmgate in the capital on Tuesday, says a press release.
Detailing the handloom entrepreneur village initiative, Gazi said the village will be set up on the handloom board's own land, with the aim to create new handloom entrepreneurs. Handloom fairs and exhibitions will be organised on a regular basis, providing a platform to display the products.
"The handloom entrepreneurs will be provided with business spaces in the village, equipped with modern technological facilities," he added.
Claiming that enhancing socioeconomic development of handloom weavers is one of the main goals of the government, the Minister said, "Careful and thoughtful formulation of the Handloom Policy-2020 will definitely pave the way towards improved living standards for our handloom weavers. The Textiles and Jute Ministry will formulate an effective policy, which will be aimed to drive away the traditional capital shortage problem weavers now face."
The Minister hoped that this workshop will eventually contribute to the formulation of a suitable, effective and helpful policy for weavers.
Secretary to Textiles and Jute Ministry, Lokman Hossain Miah presided over the closing ceremony, also attended, among others, by Bangladesh Handloom Board Chairman, Md Shah Alam; Additional Secretary to the Ministry, Mohammad Abul Kalam; Member, Bangladesh Handloom Board, Rezaul Karim, and other relevant stakeholders.
Gazi said a one-stop service for export of handloom products will be introduced in the village to accelerate marketing. New designs must be created to meet the constantly evolving needs of consumers in a changing market.
"Trained designers and skilled human resources must be developed to find new marketing opportunities.
During the workshop, handloom weavers were taught that textiles/clothing are one of man's five basic needs. A lion's share of Bangladesh's textiles sector comes from the handloom industry.
According to the press release, handloom is the largest cottage industry in Bangladesh, contributing Tk1,227 crore annually to the national economy. According to the last handloom census, 40% of the country's total textile demand is met by the handloom industry, which directly and indirectly engaged around 1.5 million people.
In Bangladesh, of a total of 5,05,558 weaving looms, 1,83,512 are handlooms. Among them, 3,11,851 are currently operational, constituting 61.7% of the nation's total looms. The remaining 1,93,705 looms are non-operational.
Handloom, the second largest source of rural employment after agriculture, is the biggest cottage industry in the country with 10 lakh workers, around 50% of whom are female.