After nearly two decades of continued battle for its survival, the handloom sector of Sri Lanka has finally turned around. The change was marked on 15th December by the felicitation of a handloom veteran and by the issuance of the first commemorative postal stamp for Lankan handlooms in Colombo, Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.
“The handloom sector of Sri Lanka faced a setback and declined. However, several government initiatives have successfully revived the sector. Today, many Lankan handloom makers are reaping good profits” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, addressing the inauguration of the annual handloom expo and awards event “Ran Salu”. Minister Bathiudeen and many handloom makers at the event witnessed the issuance of a postal stamp by the Postal Department of Sri Lanka commemorating 105 Yr anniversary of the Handloom Textile Training Centre in Rajagiriya.
“I am pleased to say that at present, all handloom products made in Sri Lanka are selling fast, and we are unable to meet the demand. Most sales revenues are from the Sri Lankan buyers and the rest of revenues are from tourists” the Minister further said and added:” Most Lankan handloom makers are in the East. Among the other leading provinces for handlooms are Central, and Southern. The Unity government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have plans to improve handloom sector of Sri Lanka, and my Ministry, under this vision, works to promote this sector and supports the handloom makers. 70% of handloom makers are women and therefore strengthening this sector is a way to empower rural women. This sector is also a contributor to government’s self-employment creation plans.”
He said that they are working on a project to make low cost dyes for handloom sector and are working on establishing a handloom dye and colour centre in the North Central Province with latest technology.
Minister Batiudeen also felicitated Ms Chandani Thenuwara-a veteran of Sri Lankan handlooms.
Sri Lankan handlooms are also exported now-India being the largest buyer.