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Japan Encourages Innovation in Lao Handicrafts

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Japanese experts are working with the Lao Handicraft Association to help artisans produce more items that are suitable for purchase as gifts.

A representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Mr. Tetsuo Shibata, gave a talk on the subject on Friday as part of the Lao Gift Project, which is supported by JETRO.

Mr. Tetsuo’s main message was that the gift project should continue so that more suitable items could be produced.

Many Lao handicrafts appeal to foreign visitors and to Lao people as well, but a lot of them are large and smaller items would be more appropriate, he said.

President of the Lao Handicraft Association, Mr. Hansana Sisane, also addressed the audience. He said the Lao Gift Project was proving to be very helpful and it was useful to share experiences among participants.

Some handicraft makers had received awards for excellence, while those who had not done so needed to enhance their skills.

Mr. Hansana said the main objective of the talk was to discuss new production methods and gift items, along with ideas that were needed to bolster this line of work.

The project began last year.

Handicrafts were on display at the ASEAN Summit held in Vientiane from September 6-8 this year. Other activities during the summit highlighted policies on investment, commercial cooperation, foreigners living in Laos, and places to buy souvenirs.

Five groups are taking part in the project, namely Sikhai Handicraft, the Nalongkone shop, and Pasen, Nakhanet and Kheuamai handicraft makers.

Mr. Shibata said the items made by these groups were produced from natural materials and included rattan products, banana fibre products, textiles embroidered with beads, salt, black rice, incense sticks, and carved wooden items.

These materials were easy to source, he said, adding that it was beneficial to continue support for the project to develop artisans’ skills in provinces across the country.

We need to discuss how best to support and promote the work of local people in various target districts, he added.

Mr. Shibata said Lao handicraft makers produce a variety of attractive products and artisans are frequently visited by officials and other guests, with gift items made by local people. The designs found in Laos are different to those found anywhere else in the world, he noted.

 

Source: Vientiane Times