Batik, handloom, and local apparel industry targets $ 6 b exports in 2021

By Zahida Rizvi


The export target for the batik, handloom, and local apparel industry is set at $ 6 billion in 2021, The Morning Business learns.

“In 2020, the industry faced a  loss of $ 1.2 billion due to Covid, since the exports amounted to $ 5 .6 billion in 2019 in comparison to $4.4 billion in 2020,” Batik, Handloom, and Local Apparel Products State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara told us.

The Government, in an attempt to encourage local production and save foreign exchange outflows, recently decided to ban batik imports to Sri Lanka.

The Minister pointed out the necessity of establishing an institution to direct local products to foreign markets and create a strong international network through selected representatives from those countries.

The Cabinet approved the proposal presented by the Ministry to register a new company with 100% shares in Lanka Salusala Ltd.

It was also proposed to implement a programme to promote other local products including batik products, handloom textiles, and local apparel products through overseas showrooms and selected representatives from those countries.

The Ministry of Batik, Handloom, and Local Apparel Products has claimed to increase the 1 million metres of handloom currently woven in the country to 100 million meters of woven handloom within one year.

“This will support 200 villages and involve the revamping of weaving centres which are spread across the country by means of providing raw material and infrastructure,” Jayasekara added.

Private-public partnerships will play a critical role in knowledge transfer, which will be facilitated by PWB (Professionals Without Borders) where the expertise of strategy, finance, project management, marketing, branding, lean manufacturing, and digital marketing will be fed into the Ministry at no extra cost. 

Laksala and Salusala will be revamped and rebranded under this project to facilitate the distribution and sales of production which is made in the centres.

“Nine fabric parks will be established for franchising Laksala and Salusala in Sri Lanka and targets to promote handloom to China, India, Japan, Australia, UK, and the US,” he said.

The Ministry of Batik, Handloom, and Local Apparel Products plans to create infrastructure facilities for nine provinces and renovate 14 textile training institutes.

The industry is set to establish an innovation and research and development centre on textile and design due to the lack of quality raw material for batik and handlooms. In addition, concessionary loans in co-ordination with the Central Bank and through public and private banks are to be arranged with an attempt to support the entrepreneurs on initial capital and working capital needs.