KIGALI-Government has vowed to extend more assistance to the Handcrafts industry to improve on the quality and increase production, so that the crafts can compete favorably at the international market
The announcement was made by Emanuel Hategeka, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Trade and Industry, during the launch of the Handcraft Excellence Award Programme (HEAP) recently at ministry’s headquarters
HEAP is the new initiative adopted by ministry of trade and industry with the aim of encouraging craft producers to make innovative, competitive market driven quality products, as well as recognize talented actors while improving their performance skills.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry plans to promote Rwandan handcrafts through the Handcraft Excellence Award programne in which district, provincial and national competitions for artisans would benefit and help them to develop their industry,” Hategeka said.
The competition would begin at the district level, then proceed to the provincial level and finally a national contest to place on 27th may-2011 at the Gikondo Expo grounds.
Hatejeka further acknowledged that the Handcrafts sector contributes a lot to government revenue and employment, adding that that government would develop it.
He noted that to the government intends to invite international buyers and other experts as a mechanism to link national producers to the western world.
“Our obligation is to provide links at the regional and international levels such that our products are internationally recognised as this will help in securing markets for our locally made products,” he said.
Rwanda’s handcrafts industry is based on indigenous knowledge, mainly carried out in cottage industries that employ a large number of rural populations, largely women.
Some of its subsectors are tailoring, carpentry, tapestry, decoration, hides and leather work, processing, metal work, stone work, construction, ceramics and pottery among others.
Rwanda recently scooped the international environmental award in the handcrafts sector.
Janet Nkubana, who runs the Gahaya Links, an organisation that makes and markets handcrafts, commended the government for initiating a programme that would elevate Rwandan products and develop locals especially the uneducated.
“If I present our products in Europe or other western countries, they would not only help develop us as producers, but would also give our country more dignity and pride,” she Nkubana told The New Times.