Cottage and small-scale industries have an important role in generating revenue and employment. They are an instrument for poverty alleviation. Handicrafts help to keep cultural and aesthetic traditions alive and well. This industry, however, is experiencing significant obstacles. Several underlying issues have hastened the decline of Handicrafts in Nepal. In rural locations, poor infrastructure is a barrier for handcraft enterprises. The power supply is insufficient, making it difficult to complete products on time. Machines are damaged by frequent power outages and voltage changes. Because roads are frequently underdeveloped, craftsmen have a difficult time obtaining and transporting raw materials, which raises production expenses.
Artists frequently do not have access to mainstream markets. Because they mostly deal with middlemen, they don’t have access to or contacts with raw material sources. This puts them at a disadvantage because it is necessary to be familiar with a variety of providers to negotiate the best price and quality. These artists have few marketing and export opportunities and connections. They have limited access to international markets and must rely on Local Melas or Exhibitions, which are in short supply. Artisans are enslaved by middlemen in an endless circle of exploitation. They rely on middlemen to sell their items because they don’t have access to markets. They do, however, pay them very little and pay them according to the number of pieces they make. Middlemen profit handsomely by selling the items they manufacture at exorbitant costs. They keep nearly all of the money from these sales if not all of them. Additionally, when clients contact middlemen, craftsmen are left out of the picture. They are unable to develop a devoted consumer base and have no idea how to contact and retain them. It’s difficult for them to venture out on their own because of this.
Artisans confront severe financial constraints, making it difficult for them to get high-quality equipment and raw materials. They are unable to provide their items an export-quality finish following worldwide market norms. They are also unable to expand their firm because they are unable to obtain financing from local institutions. This is because they cannot guarantee repayment. Furthermore, their profit margins are extremely low to meet interest rates and are spent on daily expenditures. As a result, they are unable to grow their industrial units due to a lack of money. The government’s and bureaucracy’s behavior has likewise been less than encouraging.
These artisans are unaware of the value of their work due to a lack of exposure. They cannot stand on their own two feet and advertise their products, making them vulnerable. Artisans have suffered as a result of industrialization and globalization. Mills, power looms, and structured units are strengthening their competition. They are obliged to sell their items at cheaper prices since they are unable to compete with industries. Handicrafts have lost their value and relevance as a result of industrialization changing people’s lifestyles and demands. Handicrafts lose their value when industrial products become more complex, and artists go out of business.
In most poor nations, there is a scarcity of adequate statistics for the handicrafts business. Because it is a part of the informal economy, there isn’t a lot of data available. This makes it difficult for legislators to develop effective measures to protect craftspeople. As a result, promoting and revitalizing this industry is getting more difficult. In addition, the younger generation is hesitant to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and mothers. They would rather work in factories where the labor is less hard and the money is better.
In terms of design, artisans are lacking. They lack sufficient knowledge of modern designs that can be easily commercialized. As a result, they are unable to accommodate their clients’ shifting needs. They are unable to face the hazards of patents and copyrights if they produce new products. They are also lacking in new technology and work with outdated equipment. To stay competitive, artists must combine traditional crafts with contemporary styles. Because the majority of artisans are from rural areas, they do not have access to internet services or smartphones, and they are not digitally linked. As a result, they are unable to access both domestic and foreign markets. They are marketing their goods in traditional ways, such as at trade shows, and are missing out on the benefits of e-Commerce.
For artisans, educational and training opportunities are scarce. Because most handicrafts take a lengthy and intricate procedure, children frequently miss school. This makes it difficult for artists to take advantage of various government programs, receive market information, negotiate with middlemen/traders, and properly run their businesses. As a result, they become noncompetitive. This is frequently the case for women who work from home. In impoverished countries like Nepal, vocational training schools are few. These artisans are taught their trade by their elders and typically lack technical or advanced training.