First pashmina wool processing plant opens
The country has got its first pashmina processing plant.
Byabasayik Krishi Sahakari – an agricultural cooperative – has today launched pashmina wool processing plant to ensure the quality of Nepali pashmina products.
Secretary at the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Lal Mani Joshi, inaugurating the plant here today said that use of Nepali raw materials would help generate employment in the mountain regions.
"The government has given top priority to the production of own raw materials," he added.
Established with an investment of Rs 2 million, the plant has a capacity of producing 600-700 kg of quality wool per hour.
“Initially, the plant will produce 40-50 kg daily,” said chairman of Byabasayik Krishi Sahakari Jyoti Prasad Adhikari. "We will soon be installing a spinning plant to produce pashmina fibre," he said, adding that they have arranged collection of wool from locals of Mustang and other mountain regions. "The cooperatives will provide them the necessary equipment to carry out the preliminary processing in their locality.
Currently, the domestic traders have been relying on imported raw materials.
As pashmina is one of the key exportable items of the country, the international market has been more conscious on quality. The processing plant in the country will not only ensure the quality but also help boost exports.
The country used to export pashmina worth over Rs 5 billion once has come down to below one billion due to fake products blooding in the market. The exporters have, recently registered chyangra pashmina to check the fake products.
Some 55,000 chyangras are being raised in Mustang district alone that can produce eight tones of pashmina wool annually, though some 300,000 chyangras are being reared in the high hill regions of Mustang, Humla, Mugu and Dolpa districts, according to a study of the International Trade Centre that is a subsidiary of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
However, Nepali traders buy raw materials from China currently. The low quality import at higher prices – due to lack of domestic products – has also been a problem for the pashmina exporters.
Likewise, High Mountain Agribusiness and Livelihood Improvement (Himali) – a programme being operated by the government with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) – has focused on improving the quality and productivity of 41 items in 10 high hill districts.
It has been supporting chyangra and yak farming, fruit production, rainbow trout farming, milk processing and juice and herbs production in these districts.