A UN Development Programme study comparing textile production in Bhutan and Laos has highlighted shortcomings in the Bhutan sector, showing how focused international development assistance can make permanent improvements.

Bhutan textiles could potentially be of high quality and command international sales, said the report, but their production is hamstrung by potentially resolvable shortcomings.

This, said the report, is "due to the unsuitability of the Bhutanese back-strap looms for large scale commercial production of handwoven textiles; the high costs of materials (yarns, dyes); lack of uniformity in the products; absence of value and supply chains; lack of proper knowledge in dyeing techniques; lack of knowledge in yarn qualities; and the absence of systematic pricing [for] final products."

To change this, technology and training could be supplied, backed by policy to change production and distribution methods.

"Complete transformation of the sector would include the artisans, weavers and others…cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit", it added.

By Keith Nuthall.