Director General of Small and Medium Industry of the Ministry of Industry Gati Wibawaningsih said that craft industry is the spearhead of folk economy that is unaffected by global crisis.
At a time when financial crisis hits many countries in the world, the national craft products remain strong, saleable and firm as the largest commodity contributor to Indonesia`s exports.
Importers and other buyers of national craft products come from various circles both at home and abroad. "They appreciate the added values of craft goods produced by small and cottage industry as products that have arts, culture and history aspects," said Wibawaningsih.
Based on the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) in 2015, the number of small and medium industries under the Directorate General of Small and Medium Scale Industry of the Ministry of Industry, reached 695 thousand business units. These small industries produce would-based products; wood and cork goods (not including furniture); and wicker goods made of rattan, bamboo and the like.
"Each year, value-added products by small and medium sized industries continue to rise. The value of products by small industries in 2014 was recorded at Rp25.356 trillion. It increased to Rp26.743 trillion in 2015," Wibawaningsih said.
The director general of small and medium industries also said that Jakarta International Handicraft Trade Fair, held in Jakarta April 25-29, 2018, has opened a great opportunity for craftsmen to expand the market and develop the marketing network to foreign countries.
Exports of national craft products in 2017 reached US$776 million, up from $747 million in 2016.
"In national scale, craft industry is a priority industry that produces value-added products with high global competitiveness," said Minister of Industry Airlangga Hartarto in a media statement in Jakarta on Friday.
The minister welcomes the organizing of the Jakarta International Handicraft Trade Fair (Inacraft), which this year is attended by 1,700 business makers and has good potential to spur the growth of economic inclusiveness that involves the community.
"Craft industry is one of the economic powers of our nation. Moreover, many young people are involved in it and produce interesting products," he said.
According to Airlangga, the strength of the national craft industry lies in the abundant natural sources of raw materials supported by diversity and craftsmanship that have been entrenched.
"In addition, our handicraft industries are spread throughout the country with an increasing market coverage," he said.
In order to continuously improve the performance of the craft industry in the country, the Ministry of Industry has various programs in progress, among others, enhancement of human resources capabilities and encouragement of the use of the latest technology in an effort to increase creativity and product innovation.
For example, the activity conducted at the Bali Creative Industry Center (BCIC), one of the centers of innovation owned by the Ministry of Industry that has the aim to build a creative industry ecosystem.
"BCIC is a center for the development of technology research, design, arts, culture and innovations in order to develop an excellent creative community. Many young people are gathered so that it can create craftsmen regeneration," he explained.
As part of the global supply chain, the national craft industry needs to continually improve the young generation`s role in innovation, command of latest technology, knowledge of global issues as well as effective, efficient and eco-friendly industrial process technology.
"Creative industries in the field of craft are increasingly demanded to not only be able to compete healthily in the domestic market and to be excel from imported goods, but also to meet the needs of foreign markets," noted the industry minister.
The organizing of the Inacraft, which is able to attract many buyers from abroad, becomes an opportunity for small and medium enterprises of the craft sector to promote their products as well as expand the market for export.
"In these three days, we get reports that as many as 75 thousand people visited it, and it earned a turnover of Rp47 billion in two days. This achievement is remarkable, showing a high public interest," he explained.
Airlangga hopes that the works produced by national craft cottage industry can continue to be innovative and competitive in accordance with the market needs.
"Therefore, appreciation should be given to the craftsmen who continuously pursue the field of craft whose products are able to face global competition," he added.
The minister made the remarks in response to the organizing of the Inacraft Award during the fair.
The minister said Inacraft Award can be a platform for the realization of the appreciation of creativity, design innovation and also become an effort to improve competitiveness.
This will trigger the development of product innovations by Indonesian craftsmen that is excel in the field of craft based on the judge of experts or practitioners in the handicraft sector.
"We hope that Inacraft Award becomes a tool for craftsmen to improve their skills, increase their insight, and keep innovating, especially by using natural resources that are widely spread in Indonesia," said Airlangga Minister.