Boroko Craft Market Brightens Up In PNG Colours

BOROKO (PORT MORESBY) - Two weeks before PNG celebrates its 38th years of Independence and already you can see the streets of Port Moresby in Red , Black, Gold and White colours.

As is it normal in PNG, such big events are a good opportunity to make business.

Apart from the traditional items put on sale at the Boroko Craft Market in Port Moresby were magnificent colourful bilums mostly made and sold by the women from the Highlands region.

It is said that women from the Highlands region are gifted with weaving bilums.

“It’s a gift from God so we are making use of the gift and making a living out of it…some of us are uneducated and unemployed, but through God, we are able to weave different kinds of bilum designs to earn a living,” said Frieda, a Bilum seller.

They said even though they love what they do; they want the government of today to build a proper craft market area for them to sell their wares.

“Right now we are just sitting on the ground, with no proper shelter…our bilums and other items get dusty during windy season, and they get wet when it rains...we need proper shelter to cover us from the rain, the sun’s heat, and wind & dust,” they said.

“We’re promoting and marketing PNG identity and we need to be appreciated and be recognised for our work.”

At the 4th Global Review for Aid for Trade in Geneva, Switzerland, in July this year, the International Trade Centre agreed to advance a project that will transform the informal ‘bilum’ business in PNG into a commercialized industry.

The project will aim to make the traditional bilum more viable in international markets and will be funded US$3million under ITC’s Women in Trade Program.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Richard Maru said this will increase the value of bilums sold and create more jobs for Papua New Guinea citizens.

Currently, the prices of the bilum ranged from 20 to 150 kina. Bilum Handbags cost 100-150 kina, and normal bilums cost K100 and below.

“We price our bilums according to our labour fee, time, and expense,” they said.

“Our main targets are Pacific Islanders and Papuans because we get a lot of customers from them…so now we are just waiting for them,” Frieda jokingly said and laughed. [EMTV]
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