Any other year, the months leading to and during the festive season of Dasain and Tihar would be the busiest for Gokarneswor Kucho Suppliers, a small broom assembling factory in Kathmandu. This year however, the there is not enough demand because of Covid-19 and production has dropped by half.
Even with Tihar around the corner on 13-16 November, the traditional time of year when people buy brooms to last them the year, sales have dropped. It’s not that there is not cleaning to do. People in Kathmandu are just not moving around much, and purchasing power of families has dropped.
Preparing for a muted Tihar, Monika Deupala
Subash Bolakhe’s family has been in this business for 10 years, and for the first five years its members have operated out of their home in Kavre, after which they moved to Kathmandu.
They source the raw material for the brooms from hill districts of Sindhuli, Kavre, Ramechhap, Ilam, Dolakha and Rasuwa. The plastic strips and rope to give finishing touches to the brooms are from India, as well as the factory workers. But because of the Covid-19 crisis, both raw materials and human resources are in short supply.
“We have to pay bank loans and rent, and we have to pay the workers so we started operating even during the lockdown. But business is not the same. It hasn’t picked up even during the festive season,” says Bolakhe whose family were also exporting Nepal-made brooms to India and China before the pandemic.