Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Bhutan : Bamboo exhibition boon to artisans

29 June, 2009 - Rinchen Wangchuk and Tshering Lham, who were in the capital recently, were all smiles yesterday as the two-day cane and bamboo exhibition wrapped up.

The artisan couple from Zhemgang, representing their fellow artisans, had not only marketed bamboo products but also sold about Nu 50,000 worth of the same.

“We’re very grateful to the government for providing us this opportunity to display our products and find potential buyers,” said Rinchen, adding that back home, the market being small, it was really difficult to sell their products, the only means to meet their food, health and children’s education needs.

“Till now our monthly income was about Nu 7,000 per month and we’re only able to break even. But, now, we hope things will change.” Just to sell their products at their local market in Zhemgang, they have to walk almost three days from their village.

Organised by department of industry (DoI), with funds from UNDP and technical assistance from SNV, there were other artisans from Trashigang and Mongar with similar objectives. “Such exhibitions also help artisans to showcase their talents,” said a DOI official.

Craft items, encompassing an array of cane and bamboo products, included not only traditional products like bangchung, zem and tser dhop, but also modern products such as cane wine holder, tser tissue box, penholder, bamboo tray and hangers, etc. Live demonstrations of various craft work were also presented.

SNV’s Galey Tenzin said that prices of bamboo products are set to come down by almost 20-30 percent in future. He added that, through the technical assistance they provide, bamboo artisans are encouraged into group-based business and also made aware of proper price fixation of their products. Earlier, prices were mostly fixed through guesswork.

“We’re encouraging artisans to use bamboo rather than cane, because cane has become scarce with extensive and unsuitable use in the past, which has even led to a sharp decline in production,” he said. “With most communities far from the road point, motivation is much needed for the artisans.”

Pema Letho, 24, from Mongar, said that assistance from various organisations in developing their skills and training them to make new products has really benefited in improving living standards and provided opportunities for others to take the path too.

By Passang Norbu


No comments: