LAHORE (pr)- The United States Agency for International Development held a stakeholders workshop under its Entrepreneurs Project, where findings of an extensive value chain study on the embellished fabric sub-sector in Pakistan were presented to key players for their review.  The study was conducted in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provinces by Entrepreneurs and its local partners. More than fifty representatives of key players in the embellished fabrics sub-sector participated in the workshop.

These include Government Support Organizations, women embellishers and female sales agents (FSAs)  from Swat, Bhalwalpur, Karachi and Hyderabad; TDAP, Aurat Foundations,  Kashf Foundation, designers, wholesalers, buyers, business associations, Khushali Bank Ltd.;  Executive District Officer (Community Development);  Women Business Incubation Center;  Pakistan Handicrafts; Generations; Fashion Design Emporium; PaRRSA; Homet Pakistan; Khadhi; Exporters; Wall Mart; ; Central & North Punjab Women Chamber of Commerce;  National and International Experts  in design and fashion, THAAP. The plenary session discussed roles of various key actors and key challenges and opportunities in the sub-sector. The group working sessions culminated in strategies to address the critical constraints and agreement on innovative approaches to develop the embellished fabric value chain. Ms Parveen Shaikh, CEO of ECDI one of Entrepreneurs’ local partners,  said “ Our survey shows a strong upward demand for hand embellished goods in the national retail market, as high as 30%, apart from 16% growth in the export market as projected by TDAP personnel. These figures represent an encouraging outlook for embellishers to increase their incomes. Mr Samiullah , Manager Lasoona and Ms Sajjida (CEO, Trust for History Art and Architecture of Pakistan)  highlighted  that despite the rich embellishment heritage, the sector faces numerous challenges. Firstly, majority of the embellishers lack direct access to markets and design trends. Secondly, women are faced with limited entrepreneurial resources. Thirdly, cultural restriction on women’s mobility continues to be a challenge. Although there are thousands of women embellishers across the country, a very small percentage of women embellishers are sustainably linked to market. Working closely with its local partners Entrepreneurs Project will be providing a whole range of support, including skills and design improvement training and advisory assistance, technical backstopping, and development of linkages to alternative markets, business support services and input suppliers who can provide better quality inputs with more competitive prices, to 26,000 women in Sindh, Balochistan, Southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.