Current Scenario of Weaving Industry in Bangladesh

Whether it is silk industry or jute industry in any field of handloom weaving or machine weaving industry, everything is pioneering in Bangladesh considering all over the world.

Weaving is a type of machine used to make cloth with cotton and yarn made from cotton. Weaving can be of different shapes. Earlier handloom weaving was more common. At present, however, automatic looms are used in modern textile factories. Those who make cloth with the help of looms are called weavers.

weaving industry in bangladesh

At one time it did not come from the elite families of artisans and traders in the weaving industry. There are some exceptional people who ignore everything and bring this weaving industry on the way of progress. As a result, the trend of textile and garment industry in Bangladesh has changed. In the past, cloth was made by hand loom. Later machine-made weaving garments were made. At present the textile and garment industry is flowing in a trend that is indescribable. Now dressing is not limited to just indoors. Outside the house, garments were first made in various small factories. At present, garments are being prepared in big companies such as garment factories. More interesting is the fact that the design of clothes, texture, size and design are being prepared through computer. As the demand of people is increasing rapidly, measures are being taken to meet their demand through technology.

Weaving is inevitably one of the few things that we have been proud of since ancient times. If anyone wants to go deep into the weaving industry in Bangladesh, they have to go deep into history. We have to keep an eye on the pre-colonial period. Understand the relationship between the farmer and the weaver. And this whole thing has to be seen in the continuity of history. During the Sultanate and Mughal periods the weaving industry flourished. But when the British took control of the country, everything changed. It should be remembered that the Industrial Revolution took place in England at that time. Mill of yarn and cloth is established. The Industrial Revolution on another continent affected many aspects of our lives and livelihoods, including weaving. The battle with the new era begins. It was a part of the war to destroy the hand-operated loom. In the nineteenth century, the British imported yarn to India, which was an unprecedented event. Low prices, so the British yarn and cloth market got. In the Industrial Revolution, the import of tax-free cloth at low cost brought the darkness into the life of our weavers.

The history of weaving industry in Bangladesh is very old. Weavers have been meeting the demand for cloth of the people of this region since ancient times. The weavers of the AdiBasak community are the original weavers of the Indian subcontinent. Initially they came from the Indus Basin to Murshidabad in West Bengal and started weaving. Later it spread to different parts of Rajshahi, Bajitpur of Kishorganj and Dhamrai of Dhaka. At present several regions of the country such as Narsingdi, Raipura, Demra, Tangail, Shahjadpur, Bera, Kumarkhali, Ruhitpur, Baburhat, Gournadi and Nasirnagar are well known for weaving. Manipuris have also been making textiles for a long time. Manipuri textile weaving machines are mainly waist looms, handloom looms and thayang – these are the three types. These looms are usually used to make table cloths, scarves, sheets, saris, towels, mufflers, towels, mosquito nets, etc. The weaving industry developed among the Manipuri community mainly to meet their own needs. Later, 12 handmade Manipuri saris, nakshiorna, and specially designed winter sheets made in the weaving industry were admired by Bengali women as fancy garments.

Weaving  is a popular cottage industry in Bangladesh. In the past, handloom weaving occupied a special place not only in the country but also in foreign trade. Weavers have created a unique place in this country for the betterment of weaving through acquisition of skills through heredity. According to a 2003 survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the number of handlooms in the country is five lakh five thousand 558. Of these, one lakh 92 thousand 311 handlooms are closed. On the other hand, it is on. Three lakh 13 thousand 245. According to Bangladesh Weaving Board, there are one lakh 83 thousand 512 handloom units in the country. The number of weavers is eight lakh 8 thousand 115 people. Of these, four lakh 72 thousand 36 are males and four lakh 15 thousand 648 are females. Sirajganj, Pabna, Tangail, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Yasher, Kushtia and Dhaka districts have the highest number of looms in the country. Bangladesh Weaving Board started its activities on January 1, 1986 for the development of weaving industry. According to the Bangladesh Weavers Board Sirajganj Basic Office and Pavalum and Handloom Weavers Owners Association, there are about three lakh power looms and one and a half lakh handloom looms in the district. It involves the livelihood of 1.5 million owners and workers. India is one of the markets of Sirajganj cloth. Clothes worth Tk 30-35 crore are exported to India every month. About 20 million pieces of lungi are exported to 25 countries of the world. The annual income from this sector is about one thousand 200 crore rupees. Amanat Shah, one of the lungi brands in Bangladesh, exported 1.5 million worth of lungi in 2014. Handloom weaving produces about 600 million meters of textiles annually, which is about 40 percent of the country’s demand.

In contrast to the handloom loom, there is the electric power handloom. The weaving industry is also being modernized in phases. At present 60 meters of weaving cloth is being produced every day from this electric machine. Where in the past weaving cloth was produced by hand machine 25 meters. At present, the production of 55 meters of cloth per day by power hand loom is increasing. Yet the days of weavers are not changing. On the contrary, weavers are changing their profession due to lack of training to operate modern machines. At present 1.5 lakh weavers are working with this industry. According to Bangladesh Weaving Board, at present the demand for weaving in the country is 160 crore meters. But the production is 133 crore meters. The remaining 26 crore meters are imported from the international market. On the other hand, the demand for Czech sarees is 12 crore meters. But the weavers are able to make 20 million meters. In other words, 100 million meters less cloth is being produced than the demand. In this context, a project worth Tk 117 crore is underway to save the weaving industry. It is known that the income of weavers has decreased due to the impact of electric machines in the weaving industry. Earlier, weavers used to earn between TK 150 and TK 300 daily. At present the maximum income is 150 tk. Rahima Akhter, Deputy Head (Planning and Implementation) of Weaving Board, told that times are changing in the shadow of modernity.  As a result, handloom weaving is also affecting the industry. However, the industry is contributing 40 percent to the production of lingerie. As a result, Bangladesh Weaving Board has taken various projects to modernize the weaving industry to increase production in the textile sector.

From ancient times the art of weaving has brought Bengal to the world. Weaving has been playing an important role in the economy of Bangladesh.  In the case of rural employment, the position of weaving is second only to agriculture. The weaving industry has become a highly valued activity in a specialized and technological manner. The government is providing necessary assistance to the poor marginal weavers to increase their self-employment and quality of life in the country.


  1. Muhammad Rabiul Islam Liton, Tahmidul Islam, Subrata Saha “Present Scenario and Future Challenges in Handloom Industry in Bangladesh” Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 5, October 2016, Pages: 70-76

Author of this Article:
Nazifa Tabassum
B.Sc. in Clothing and Textile
College of Home Economics, Dhaka

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