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CrazyFruits » WORLD NEWS AND SPORTS FROM SKY » Government pushing for authentic Jamaican craft items

Government pushing for authentic Jamaican craft items

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BOBmarleyADMIN

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Carver and craft trader Granvill 'Rocker' Campbell sits with one of his unsold pieces at the Old Fort Craft Market in Montego Bay. - File

State Minister Damion Crawford

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EXPRESSING HOPE that craft can be a $5-billion industry, Tourism State Minister Damion Crawford said selling products which reflects Jamaica's culture could be a major shot in the arm for craft traders.
Contributing to a motion on the state of the craft market, brought by Shahine Robinson, the member of parliament for North East St Ann, Crawford said the decision of the Government to embark on an authentic Jamaica brand will help improve the competitiveness of the craft market.
"At present, the vendor is selling the same products as that which is available in the hotels or the in-bond stores, for which there is a competitive disadvantage either by proximity or ability to promote," argued Crawford.
He said the authentic Jamaica brand, which will showcase images of Jamaica and aspects of its culture, will only be sold in the craft markets.
"We want to see the day that craft that are sold, in the main, are not imported, and that, unfortunately, is the reality we currently face," the minister said. He argued that the demand for the imported craft is low because visitors cannot associate them with their Jamaica experience.
"We find, for example, that there are giraffes, elephants and lions, none of which represent the Jamaican culture," Crawford said. He said a project of training craftsmen is currently under way to ensure Jamaica is able to provide craft which represents the culture of the island.
Another state minister, Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, noted that the creative industry is critical to Jamaica as it provides jobs for many Jamaicans and contributes nearly five per cent of GDP.
"The craft sector, properly positioned, will have a direct impact on the lives and livelihood of more than 1,500 craft traders, artisans and producers of various art forms and generate positive economic spin-offs in many rural communities," said Ffolkes Abrahams.
CREATION OF WEALTH
Underscoring the potential that craft holds, Ffolkes Abrahams said, "Jamaica must return to the value of production with our hands. The more we work with our hands, the more creation of wealth will be in Jamaica," she added.
Robinson, in moving the motion, said the craft industry plays a crucial role in the national economy as it relates to the expansion of the micro and small business sector, the creation of jobs and the generation of much-needed foreign exchange.
She called for the craft industry to be placed directly under the aegis of an appropriate ministry, and for policies and strategies aimed at facilitating even greater integration and promoting even stronger and more meaningful synergies between players in the craft industry and their counterparts in the tourism sector be immediately developed and implemented.
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness is expected to contribute to the debate this week, after which Robinson is scheduled to close the debate.
Daraine.Luton@gleanerjm.com

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