KATHMANDU, Jan 18: Though the demand for Nepali footwear products is increasing with each passing year, the shortage of trained hands is hitting footwear manufacturers hard.
The increasing number of youths going abroad for better opportunities has created shortage of skilled workforce in the footwear industry, according to the manufacturers.
Speaking at an interaction organized by Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) in Kathmandu on Tuesday, Rabin Shrestha, president of Footwear Manufacturers Association of Nepal, argued that Nepali companies were trying their best to reduce import of footwear by producing quality shoes, sandals and slippers in the country. “The international market of Nepal footwear products is also increasing. Many companies are exporting their products to different European and American countries,” he added.
According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, Nepal imported footwear worth Rs 796 million from January to June of 2016. In the corresponding period of 2015, Nepal had imported footwear products worth Rs 965 million.
“It won't be difficult to expand our market as raw materials required to manufacture footwear are easily available in the country,” he said, adding that Nepali companies enjoy 60 percent share in the domestic footwear market. “We can be self-sufficient in footwear products if our market keeps expanding at this rate.”
He also urged the government to help footwear manufacturers to participate in international shows so that they can showcase their products in foreign countries.