More of Fiji’s most gifted mat weavers, masi designers and other artisans have had their work officially recognised and authenticated with the “Fijian Crafted” brand.

The latest group of 39 people received their licence certificates in Nadi today from the Attorney General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The ceremony – before the artisans, their families and a large crowd – marked the end of the Western Crafts Fair in Koroivolu Park.

The “Fijian Crafted” initiative is part of the on-going “Fijian Made” campaign, which is designed to persuade Fijians to buy locally made products and keep the economic benefits in Fiji.

The licence holders are entitled to display the “Fijian Crafted” logo when they sell their works to differentiate them from generic island style products imported from overseas.

The Attorney General described the intiative as a “celebration of indigenous arts and craft and the artisans who make them that is designed to ensure their continuity into the future and provide sustainable livelihoods for talented Fijains”.

He said any international visitor to Fiji could now readily tell whether a particular item was authentic and a true representation of Fijian craftsmanship and culture.

The AG urged local artisans not to compromise the authenticity, quality and attractiveness of their work and said top pieces were bound the attract top prices.

He referred to a spike in commercial interest in local artisans since the “Fijian Crafted” program was launched in June.

The AG’s comments were endorsed by the President of the Fiji Crafts Council, Niqa Tuvuki, who told the gathering that the initiative had led to a surge in sales for those artisans who had been granted licences.

She said the Motibhai Group had already bought $4000 worth of works, Tappoos was intending to establish a special “Fijian Crafted” section in its stores and the work of some of the existing licence holders was already being displayed in several of Fiji’s diplomatic missions overseas.

The Crafts Council chief said the Government’s program was deeply appreciated.

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