EDB moves to stamp ‘Brand Sri Lanka’ in global Batik map

Sri Lanka’s apex export facilitator EDB stepped up its efforts to stamp ‘Brand Sri Lanka’ in the global Batik map–and linking with top institutional stakeholders, EDB is directly accessing the SMEs of the country in this new initiative, as announced on 8 October. “24 leading Lankan SME Batik manufactures are displaying their samples today to gain access to high end markets while sharing experience and knowledge with experts in the industry” said Himali Jinadasa (Actg. Director General of EDB) on 8 October in Colombo.

Actg. Director General Jinadasa was addressing the “EDB Seminar & Sample Display Event of Lankan Batik Manufactures” on 08th October at the auditorium of EDB where 24 leading Lankan SME Batik makers splashed the Forum with the best of their wares and designs. The session was assisted by Erik Sooriyasena (leading exporter and artist), Colvin Settinayake (Veteran Art and batik Master Craftsman) and Selyna Peiris (Director – Selyn Exports) as resource persons. Representatives from two leading giftware & lifestyle companies were also invited and represented this event to explore possibility to market linkage of the products manufactured by SME batik manufacturers to high-end markets. The essentials for the up market such as design, neatness of waxing, clarity of colors, were presented by resource persons followed by a question and answer sessions.

327 Lankan Batik makers and firms are presently registered with the government-still it is believed that with numbers of the unregistered makers, the industry base is much larger with a reported 200,000 workforce-mostly female-engaged in it.

“One day Seminar & Sample Display Event” is the second stage of this programme and 24 Lankan SME Batik manufactures are displaying their samples to gain access to high end markets while sharing experience and knowledge with experts in the industry. Today’s event also picks 10-15 suitable beneficiaries for the third stage i.e. Design Development programme which is planned to be implemented in near future. We also invited National Craft Council (NCC) and five Batik manufacturers with National Craft Council to display their samples” said Himali Jinadasa (Actg. Director General of EDB) in her opening remarks.

“Sri Lankan Batik products are premium products. Our Batik sector is so good that once Unilever purchased a Lankan made Batik saree for no less than $15000-not rupees but dollars!” said Erik Sooriyasena (leading exporter) and added: “With today’s initiative, we begin a long process of linking Lankan batiks to global market.”

The October 8 initiative was the second stage in a programme series implemented in three stages aimed at linking Sri Lanka’s Batik supply chain to the international markets. The first stage of the programme (in consultation with National Craft Council, National Environment Authority-NWP & Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel -SLITA) was already completed in Kurunegala with the participation of 77 batik manufacturers. Under the first stage, the North Western Provincial Office reviewed the Batik industry and based on the observations, two basic awareness seminars were conducted on quality improvements and technical expertise on quality dying. Participants lauded EDB for organizing such an event to support the SMEs engaged in this sector. “We thank EDB for this effort. Batik is one of Sri Lanka’s leading design traditions and it is time that we bring them to the global markets in a bigger way” they voiced.

Indonesia is recognised today as the world’s leader in Batiks with UNESCO acknowledging Indonesian Batik as cultural heritage. It is believed that Batik was introduced to Sri Lanka by the Dutch colonial masters and was promptly adopted by women of Kandyan kingdom, thereby kicking off the Batik tradition in Sri Lanka. (News Release)