The Sunday Leader

Weaving new hope for Sri Lankan textile manufacturers

Officials from NDB, Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Department of Textile clarifying the programme details to the participants at the open forum discussion

Furthering its efforts to revive distinctive local industries of Sri Lanka, NDB recently initiated a special development programme aimed at rebuilding the defunct handloom textile industry. The pilot project of a long term development programme was launched in the Kuleegama village, Divulapititya of the Gampaha District which has once been renowned for its handloom products.

NDB joined hands with the Department of Textile Industry and the Divisional Secretariat of Divulapitiya to support the skilled weavers in the village who have been away from the industry since 2002, to resume manufacturing. The initial meeting organised by NDB with the participation of representatives of the department of Textile and the Divisional Secretariat official was attended by over 30 manufacturers.
Accordingly, NDB will meet the capital expenditure for the initial set up of enterprises including purchase of weaving machines, raw material etc. and also fill working capital gaps at the latter stages of production. The Bank together with the Department of Textiles will be committed to provide continuous guidance and training on enterprise management, marketing and distribution as well as technical skills development in order to equip the manufacturers with the necessary business and technical know-how.
The Department of Textile will also share technical advice for the weavers, enabling them to produce contemporary products that are better-suited for the modern market place. In a bid to encourage the younger generation in the area to take up the profession, a handloom manufacturing training centre will be set up in the village which will be administered under the guidance of the department. The project will be backed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, which has undertaken the task of creating demand for the products with buy back arrangement and by directing private sector buyers to the manufactures.
Commenting on the initiative, Raj Aboobucker Vice President and Head of Retail and SME Banking of NDB stated, “Reviving the waning traditional industries in the country and creating better market/ export opportunities for such entrepreneurs is a priority focus in NDB’s agenda for SME development. NDB’s initiative for hand loom textiles in Kuleegama and the earlier initiative for the mask industry in Ambalangoda are first steps of long-term programmes that aim to reinforce identified traditional industries. Our view is that widening market access and reawakening interest in such products within the marketplace will help develop their export potential. We strongly believe that this can contribute vastly to the anticipated economic boom in the country”.

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