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By RACHNA LAL and ELLEN STOLZ
The Ministry of Industry and Trade after a successful month of focus on manufacturers, plans to focus next on handicrafts in the next few months as part of its Fijian Made-Buy Fijian campaign.
This was revealed by the Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday as he issued another 24 companies the license for the Fijian Made-Buy Fijian logo.
This issuance adds another 181 products under the campaign to use the logo, bringing the total number of licenced products to 400.
In total, 54 companies are now licensed to use this logo on their various products.
“Many of the handicrafts that you see in these big stores, the shells come from the Philippines, or that it is handcrafted somewhere else,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“So the tourists come along and think its Fijian made but little do they know that most of these come from overseas.
“So we need to help the local people to be able to differentiate their product so when the tourists come along and see the ‘Fijian Made’ sticker on it they do not mind paying an extra $5 because they know it’s an authentic product,” he said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also reiterated Government’s support for the initiative – not only for bigger companies, but also small companies.
“SME’s provide the backbone of any economy and that sector provides potential new growth in jobs,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali, said 14 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were issued licenses yesterday.
“These SMEs will be able to enjoy the same benefits as the larger enterprises of branding their products as Fijian made,” he said.
“SMEs make up approximately 10 per cent of the Fijian economy and are the key to growth of an economy.
“This is particularly in terms of generation of employment and income and more resilient to external shocks because of less exposure to international tin markets and their flexibility.”
The SMEs licensed under this brand are from a number of different business sectors, such as furniture-making, agriculture, virgin coconut oil, poultry, honey, food, garments and construction materials.