Proper government supports could raise the country's foreign currency earning from handicraft exports by at least 10 times, exporters claimed, reports BDNEWS.
Exporters blamed the government for not providing them with the commercially useful information and assistance in increasing exports from the sector.
"We can earn US$50 million from handicraft export if the government helps us build up infrastructure, including a design training centre," Shahjalal, general secretary of Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Banglacraft) said.
Commerce Ministry sources said the country earned only US$5.12 million by exporting handicrafts in 2004-05.
Bangladesh's handicrafts, which have huge demand in the global market, include basket ware, hand-made furniture, leather goods, terracotta, hand-made paper items, jute and wood goods, Christmas decorative, handloom, cane, grass, bamboo, mixed media and traditional jewelleries.
India with its Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, offers professional advice and services to handicrafts exporters in the areas of technology upgradation, quality and design improvement, standards and specifications, product development, innovation, local businessmen said.
"The association is not getting even a piece of land despite getting approval from the past and present prime ministers at two national export council meetings earlier," Shahjalal said.
Banglacraft wants to establish a training centre to improve design and quality of the products, he added.
"We are not getting adequate feedback from the government to expand our export baskets and markets as well," said Salahuddin Ahmed, executive director of Nipun Private Ltd.
"Banks do not want to give us loan easily, although the government has earmarked loans for handicraft exporters at seven per cent interest rate," said an exporter, requesting anonymity.
Porimal Kanti Das of Dhaka Handicrafts, which has been operating since 1976, said they don't get cash incentives against their exports, although the government provides it in papers.
Italy, Belgium, England, Germany, Sweden, Portugal and Austria, the United States (US), Saudi Arab, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Japan are the main buyers of Bangladeshi handicrafts, commerce ministry sources said.