Comparatively the animals have their own special attribute in terms of their habitat as well as inheritance. Animal fiber is different in fineness, softness, and luster. Among all the fiber, Pashmina is the finest animal’s fiber which is produced on a large scale in the world. Pashmina, also known as cashmere is a fine fiber extracted from the body of mountain goat “chyangra” or “capra hircus” which live above 2500masl in the Himalayas.
Scientific classification of Chyangra
The word pashmina is originated from the word ‘Pash’ meaning soft gold in the local language and wool in the Persian language. It is known by different names like ‘Diamond Fibre’ and ‘Soft Gold of High Asia’. The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive review of Pashmina, its production process, marketing, challenges, and some mitigation.
History of Pashmina
The origin of Pashmina takes back to ancient civilization. It was famous as the “Fibre for royals and emperors’’ in those days. In Nepal, it has been traced back to prehistoric times (or the time of Mahabharat). The unique and wonderful properties of Pashmina was discovered by those people living in the high mountains.
They develop a very delicate and skillful Pashmina method without harming the goats and fibers are collected regularly form the same goat every season and for many years. They also learned about how to turn the fibers into fine yarn and weave it to get excellent soft and warm fibers. This art was passed from one generation to another and to the present time as well.
Dehairing for Cashmere Production
Dehairing is a process by which the outer coat of guard hair is separated from the undercoat fine fibers. Fiber is extracted from the body either by combining or by cutting during January or February. Raw pashmina fiber is having 50-60% guard hair. Before processing, the guard hair should be removed completely for improving the spinnability and for the development of the best product. In past, the dehairing process was carried out manually followed by brooming on wooden comb which was time-consuming and laborious. At present, due to technology, it is highly mechanized. After dusting of Pashmina fiber, it is passed through flats and cylinder type cotton carding machine running at a much lower speed. The coarse-textured guard hairs get removed due to the differential speed mechanism between flats and cylinders.
General production process of Pashmina
The general production steps in the textile industry for the production of Pashmina shawl can be described by successive steps of warping, drafting, weaving, mending, knotting, crushing, washing, dyeing, insection, and packaging.
Warping: It is the process of rolling silk yarn horizontal on the bean. It is usually done according to the width of shawl you would like to make.
Drafting: It is the process of inserting the silk yarn in the nylon netting to form different patterns on the shawls.
Weaving: It is the process of locking the silk yarn with the pashmina yarn. This is done in the handloom where the silk yarn is placed horizontally and the pashmina is the fitting.
Mending: It is the process of mending the shawls which are weaved. In this process, the shawls are check for damage. The pashmina yarn fills the missing space which is missed by weavers with the help of a needle.
Knotting: In this process after the shawl has been weaved, the left portion of the weaved is tired into knots known as fringes.
Crushing: This process is done for about 10-15 minutes in order to give the shawls a softer feeling.
Washing: The shawls are washed in order to wash away the odor and allow the shrinkage of the shawls to prevent it from damage later. It is done to remove the strains, which it could have collected during the process of making/weaving the shawls.
Dyeing: It is the process of giving the color as per customers’ will. In this process, the shawls are dyed in big vessels. The shawls have to be constantly stirred in order to give the shawls a uniform color.
Inspection: Final inspection of the finished products is carried out by the experts to check defects.
Packaging: Finished products are then packed in the beautiful and attractive wrappers.
|Silk yarn||Wraping||Silk cutting|
|Pashmina yarn||Drafting||Pashmina cutting|
|Pashmina fibre silk yarn||Weaving||Pashmina and yarn cutting|
|Weaved pashmina fibre||Mending||Pashmina and yarn cutting|
|Mended shawls||knotting||Pashmina and yarn cutting|
|Knotted shawl softener||crushing||Chemical waste water|
|Crushed shawl||finishing||Pashmina silk and fibre cutting|
|Pashmina fibre acetic acid colour||Dyeing||Waste water|
Fig: Process flow diagram.
Marketing ( Pashmina Scarf/ Shawl)
Pashmina is one of Nepal’s largest exportable items. The price of the fiber mainly depends on its fineness, color, length, and down fiber content. Generally, white fiber with long fiber length fetches higher prices since longer fibers are easy to spin. Besides this, the fiber is also graded on the basis of down fiber percent.
|Grade||Colour||Down hair||Guard hair|
|Sorted-1||White/light grey/ dark grey/ brown||78-82||22-18|
|Sorted-2||White/ light grey/ dark grey/ brown||48-60||52-40|
|Sorted-3||White/ light grey/ dark grey/ brown||20-40||80-60|
Table: Colour and proportion of the fine and guard hair in pashmina wool
The most demanding pashmina items of different size in the international markets are:-
- Shwals – 36’’*80”
- Stoles – 28’’*78, 28”*72, 24’’*72”, 22’’*72 and 20’’*72”
- Mufflers/scarves – 18’’*78’’, 18’’*65’’ and 12’’*60”
- Blankets – 45’’*72’’, 45’’*90’’, 56’’*96’’, 52’’*110’’ and 60’’*100’’
Pashmina in Nepal
Processing of Pashmina wool is being done in the country. Even though Pashmina products are of the major exportable items, the raw materials produce locally and have been exported from China. An estimated 100 tones of Pashmina wool and yak wool are imported from China annually. The imported Pashmina yarn costs Rs 14,000-15,000 per kg.
But Byabasayik Krishi SahaKari, an agricultural cooperative, has started processing the wool collected from goats known as Chyangra which dwell in the high hills in Mustang districts. It is the first company to process Pashmina wool.
Jyoti Prasad Adhikari, chairman of the cooperative said “they have collected 600-700kg of Pashmina wool from the local people of Mustang as a start. The company was coordinating with farmers in Mustang and Upper Mustang for a regular supply of raw wool’’.
Nepal exported Pashmina worth Rs 216.9 million in the previous fiscal year. In the last fiscal year, shipments plunged by 15% to Rs 185.1 million.
Dharma raj Shakya, former president of the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal said, ’’the government provides a 5% cash incentive under the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy, but getting the money is a massive bureaucratic hassle and it is too much less what neighboring countries give to their traders and this has discouraged us. Also finding skilled manpower was another challenge as the increasing number of trained workers are opting for foreign employment and this has made it very difficult for us to get competent people’’
Bijaya Ratna Tuladhar of yak and Yeti Enterprises said that the quality and design of Nepali Pashmina had not improved in recent years and low-quality raw materials had led to a decline in the quality of Nepali Pashmina as there is no quality check system in the import of raw materials. This flimsy marketing strategy and weak support have led to a sharp decline in shipments this year.
Challenges for Pashmina collection
Ø Technical experts are not available locally.
Ø No access to preliminary facilities.
Ø Weak focus from the government side.
Ø Brain-drain problems.
Ø Innovation problems.
Ø, In order to provide momentum to the initiatives launched under the projects, the government should be focused.
Ø To maintain consistency in the quality of exported pashmina products, the concerned organizations should actively participate.
Ø Government should also focus on the supply of raw materials, market promotions, branding, labeling strategies, and training activities to the concerned authority.
Ø To promote cross-learning, there should experience sharing event.
Pashmina is also the major backbone of the country’s economics. So, the government should address all the problems from production to marketing period. Besides this, private organizations must be work in favor of farmers. Youth participation should be encouraged and step ahead with collaborating different governmental and non-governmental organizations should be a must which help to uplifts the country’s economy as well as name and fame all over the world.
Shiva Prasad Adhikari