Handicraft makers expect to register a 10-percent growth in exports this year on the back of sustained orders from some of the country’s biggest markets, according to the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport).
In the first six months of the year, the sector posted an estimated 6 to 7 percent growth, according to a Philexport statement, which quoted Dennis Orlina, president of the Philippine Chamber of Handicraft Industries Inc.
“There are companies indicating revenue increases. So I think we are on track at achieving the 10-percent [goal] based on last year’s [$130 million sales],” Orlina was quoted as saying.
Some of the country’s major markets for handicrafts include the United States, Japan and Germany.
But Orlina underscored the need to develop more varieties of indigenous raw materials that are used in production. This, he believes, can boost export sales.
“Abaca is unique to the Philippines. We should develop other fiber groups not produced by other countries. This will improve our capacity on all fronts,” Orlina said.
A Cebuano artisan earns around P12,000 to P15,000 per month in the country, while some foreign manufacturers are offering them up to P60,000, she said.
The handicraft or houseware sector, composed mostly of micro-, small- and medium-sized firms, has earlier complained of other countries allegedly copying Filipino designs and selling them at cheaper prices.
Data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) showed a 3.73% drop in export sales of housewares — including handmade basketwork, shellcraft, woodcraft, ceramics, and glassware — to $153.62 million in 2006 compared with $159.14 million in 2005.
The DTI Wednesday launched the 2007 Philippine National Trade Fair, which runs until March 18, at the Megatrade Hall of SM Megamall. The trade fair helps promote the best handicrafts in Legazpi City and all over the Philippines and the furniture industry, and other local delicacies.
Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila said Filipino houseware makers should bank on their “innate creativity” to “elevate their value in the global market.”
Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines, a DTI attached agency that serves as a consultancy firm for small- and medium-scale enterprises (SME), plans to come up with 1,363 new designs using indigenous materials to help boost handicraft sales.
Also, the DTI’s SME flagship program One Town, One Product will launch 1,986 new products.
On the domestic front, trade officials expect to generate P92.6 million in sales with more than 800 trade buyers expected to attend the trade fair.