The Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC) has been established as an autonomous agency under Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) in July, 2011 and is responsible for the execution of crafts and related initiatives under the Accelerating Bhutan’s Socio-economic Development (ABSD) project. APIC is thus mandated with the task of promoting crafts industry in the country while preserving its rich crafts culture and traditions. The Agency is governed by the Board of Directors constituted with members from stakeholder agencies including the private sector.
APIC has launched ‘Made in Bhutan Seal’ under the concept of ‘Seal of Origin’ for the Bhutanes Handicraft Sector. The Department of Trade (DoT), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) who owns the Seal Logo has authorized APIC to use the Logo in the development and promotion of the crafts sector. The ‘Seal of Origin’/ ‘Made in Bhutan’ has been developed by the Department to authenticate wholly produced and/or substantially transformed products with required minimum value addition done within Bhutan to help improve marketing capacity and contribute towards building “Brand Bhutan”.
His Excellency Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Ministry of Economic Affairs has inaugurated the ‘Seal Logo’ as well as the APIC website on 14th May, 2012 at 10.00 am in the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre in Thimphu.
APIC feels privileged that this Seal Logo certification system will be implemented for the first time in Bhutan by introducing it in the crafts sector where the country has witnessed sustained development over the years. With dramatic surge in the number of visitors to Bhutan, Crafts today is a thriving industry which has become the source of employment of trainee outputs of National Institute for Zorig Chusum and other school leavers and more importantly promoting and enhancing the livelihood of communities in rural areas.
Yet the craft sector growth in Bhutan is challenged by lack of product authenticity and quality. Bhutanese artisans face stiff competition from cheap imported products marketed as genuinely Bhutanese. Such intrusions into the market also make it difficult for buyers to distinguish between the genuine and the fake. The inundation of such products potentially stalls promotion of Bhutanese crafts and also deprives artisan communities from the opportunity to an enhanced income. It is thus of paramount importance that conditions are created to allow buyers to have a well informed choice by safeguarding and promoting the individuality of genuine Bhutanese crafts. Such an initiative will ensure that crafts sector becomes more sustainable and economically viable, therein benefitting Bhutanese artisans and dealers. In view of this critical need, the certification system in Seal of Origin/ Made in Bhutan could not have come at a more crucial time. APIC thus introduces the ‘Made in Bhutan Seal’ under the concept of ‘Seal of Origin’ for the Handicrafts Sector in Bhutan.
The benefits of the certification is that the buyers are in a position to make an informed choice, acts as a marketing tool for craftsperson and its dealers, protect and promote genuine Bhutanese handicrafts and motivate Bhutanese artisans.
The details about the Seal in the guidelines, criteria, Letter of Undertaking (LoU) and application forms to avail the ‘Seal of Origin’ can be accessed from http://www.apic.org.bt/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/seal-of-Origin-Application-Forms.pdf or obtained from APIC office.