PNG handicrafts artisans, vendors confident of better days ahead

Handicrafts artisans and vendors in Papua New Guinea are confident there will be positive results with the launch of the PNG handicrafts biosecurity awareness video and vendor guide.

The awareness materials were jointly launched in PNG on 22 September 2017 by Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Emil Tammur, MP and Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Keith Pitt, MP.

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Hon. Keith Pitt MP, examines a woven handicraft item with Genevieve Igara from Wantok Clothing Ltd. Photo credit: PNG Post Public Diplomacy

Developed by the Australia and New Zealand-funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program, the video and vendor guides were designed in consultation with biosecurity authorities in Australia and New Zealand and in collaboration with PNG’s National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority, Tourism Promotion Authority and artisans and vendors from the private sector.

The video will be played on cruise ships as a way of informing tourists travelling to PNG about which handicrafts they can or cannot take home as souvenirs. The vendor guide informs vendors and artisans how to meet Australian and New Zealand biosecurity protocols in the production, purchasing and handling of their handicrafts.

As part of PHAMA’s capacity building efforts, the program organised a training of trainers’ workshop prior to the launch. The workshop sought to help artisans, vendors, quarantine and tourism personnel and other interested stakeholders understand the use of the vendor guide.

Australia’s Assistant Minister Hon. Keith Pitt, MP and Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Emil Tammur, MP at the launch of the handicrafts biosecurity awareness video and vendor guide. Photo Credit: PNG Post Public Diplomacy

Anette Sete, owner of Maku Gifts Shop, said the training was relevant and a good opportunity for artisans and vendors.

“In Rabaul, the biggest issue for us is quarantine. The vendor guide is very relevant and with the knowledge of how to use it, we can sell confidently to tourists and they too can buy with confidence knowing the items they purchase will be taken across the border with the quarantine issues addressed,” she said.

“The handicrafts industry should complement the tourism industry so we have to be responsible for the products we make. The Training of Trainers Workshop is an indication that it’s all coming together and we are very appreciative of PHAMA’s support.”

Susan Bakani operates Artisan Culture, an online business that introduces and promotes PNG’s cultures through art and craft. She also attended the workshop.

“The launch of the vendor guide and video are very timely and a solution to the biosecurity issues associated with the export of handicrafts. They offer a way to convince tourists to buy our products,” she said.

Bakani said the vendor guide would particularly help artisans and vendors tailor-make handicrafts so they were compliant with biosecurity or quarantine requirements.

“It’s a win-win for the vendors and tourists and all credit to PHAMA for making this happen.”

With the launch of the materials, Sete and Bakani are confident more tourists will purchase authentic PNG handicrafts and there will be better returns for artisans and vendors.

The ministers engage in conversation with a handicrafts vendor at the launch. Photo Credit: PNG Post Public Diplomacy

At the launch, Minister Tammur said, “The Government of Papua New Guinea is pleased to be working in partnership with the Australian Government to ensure that our people benefit from the investment made in the tourism sector. As you know, more than 80 per cent of the population is rural-based and dependent on sectors such as tourism and agriculture for their livelihood.”

Australia’s Assistant Minister Pitt said, “Supporting tourism and rural development in Papua New Guinea to enable economic growth, including empowerment of women is a key focus of the Papua New Guinea-Australia partnership.”

PHAMA has also supported the development of similar awareness materials in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

For further information, contact Sidney Suma at or on +675 7640 3290

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