Thursday, March 29, 2012
BELIZE RURAL CRAFT PRODUCER ARTISANS FAIL TO ACHIEVE LABOR COSTS IN SALES.
RURAL WOMEN AND MEN IN BELIZE, ARE MAKING A LOT OF CUSTOM MADE CRAFTS, BUT CANNOT SEEM TO EXPORT THEM AND GET THE COST OF THEIR LABOR OUT OF IT. MY WIFE FOR INSTANCE HAS MADE USING THE BACKSTRAP LOOM, THE TIME CONSUMING WALL HANGINGS, BELTS, KEY FOBS, SHAWLS, PLACE MATS, BUT THE PRICE SHE GETS FOR THEM ON THE LOCAL SCENE DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO PAY HER LABOR. LUCKY IF SHE JUST COVERS HER MATERIAL COSTS. SOME KIND OF EXPORT BUYER, PAYING FAIR TRADE PRICES WOULD GO A LONG WAY TO STIMULATE RURAL CRAFT PRODUCTION.
In posh, high end stores like Barney's in New York, a product called Maya Bags fetches premium prices, comparable to upscale designer products.
Those bags are made entirely in Belize by Mayan women from villages such as Columbia, Dolores, Otoxha (Oto-sha), Indian Creek and other communities.
Well, work from native women is also being celebrated in Belize by the Women's Department, as part of women's month activities.
They are having a two day Expo featuring locally grown spices along with a variety of baskets, carvings, clothing and accessories.
Cynthia Williams from the Women's department who told us what is being sold and why Belizeans buy it.
Cyntha Williams - Coordinator, Women's Department
"Today, we are having a Maya's Women Expo as part of Women's Month activities. We wanted to really contribute also to a year of the Mayans, which is being observed by the Ministry of Tourism. So we invited several women's group with whom we work with throughout the year, to bring their products that they produce to sell it within Belize City. We have groups from Toledo and Stann Creek district, and we have a variety of products that they produce including Maya pepper, yellow ginger, anato, kasham and also products that do for example Maya blouses, jewelry that they make, slave cravings, and also baskets make out to the jippy jappa material."
"Have you been getting much activity today?"
"Yes, we are very happy with our outcome. We have had a lot of Belizeans which is very good for us, to see that our Belizean people are receptive and are contributing to the empowerment of these women groups. So, we had a lot of Belizeans coming in to purchase Maya pepper. The amount that we brought in today actually finished, but we will bring in more for tomorrow. We really are encouraging the general public to come out and support these groups. A lot of times, we feel like some of these items may be sold at a high price, but when you really look at the time and the skills required to produce these items, it is a lot. It is a labor of love."
The expo will continue tomorrow at the NICH parking lot on Regent Street, of the port coastal town of Belize City, in the center of the country along the coast, and will be open from 9:00 to 4:00.
Posted by A Professional BEACH BUM retires in Belize! at 4:29 AM