HE Sheikha Aysha bint Khalfan al-Siyabiyah,
Chairperson of the Public Authority for Craft Industries (PACI)
The Public Authority for Craft Industries (PACI) is initiating several measures to protect national crafts in response to the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to preserve the craft industry, which is a fundamental pillar of national identity and culture.
The Omani crafts sector has witnessed record growth and a qualitative leap when it comes to artisan skills, in line with the vision of HM, the Sultan for preserving craft heritage and giving a shot in the arm to entrepreneurship. In implementation of the directives of His Majesty, PACI has provided high level of care, support, rehabilitation and training to protect ancient crafts and preserve Sultanate’s national identity.
Based on the Sultanate’s drive towards optimising an all-out sustainable development, PACI seeks to provide and create job opportunities for talented Omani youth in various areas through craft production and training projects. Craft centres are considered among the pioneering projects when it comes to optimising crafts work and production. PACI has established specialised training and production centers to give a push to the crafts industries and to contribute to developing the sector through providing highly qualified and trained Omani artisans. This helps to create an entrepreneurship culture and to create crafts SMEs. The Authority is also keen to give a fillip to the projects in order to provide as many job opportunities to Omani talents.
PACI also extends financial support to artisans and also provides up-to-date machinery, equipment and tools. It has also enhanced multiple dimension care and support programmes for artisans at both the production and logistic levels. Various initiatives were launched, including providing financial support through logistics to design, evaluation consultancy services for craft products, which conform to Omani crafts heritage.
The crafts sector is witnessing significant development with regard to laying out the foundation for crafts development, through introducing comprehensive craft support and care initiatives for artisans. PACI has introduced a project related establishing craft villages in several wilayats of the Sultanate to ensure the continuity of traditional occupations and craft industries. These communities are supported by the latest equipment and technologies. The craft bag initiative has also been introduced for the first time with the aim of providing a qualitative and entrepreneurial edge for artisans in innovative techniques that may contribute to enhancing production. According to the latest figures, the number of artisans has risen in all governorates of the Sultanate. The craft index for 2014 indicated an increase by 17.76 per cent year-on-year. PACI seeks to professionally accommodate the continuous increase in the number of artisans through implementing an integrated package of rehabilitation and training programmes. The number of rehabilitation programmes for the year 2014 and 2015 has exceeded 50, which benefitted about 600 male and female artisans. PACI adopts a corporate culture that is based on providing a work environment that regulates performance. PACI has implemented a production plan to localise all parts of the Khanjar (dagger). Moreover, a number of PACI researchers and specialists have discovered a local type of soil that can be used in the production of innovative pottery from local environment, which will be a qualitative leap as far as craft production is concerned.
PACI has recently finalised a documentary that classifies and defines Omani crafts. This documentary will be a unified reference for the classification and ranking of Omani crafts. Through this project, various Omani craft activities have been listed, collected and documented under one system through a project which will act as a basis for drafting craft training-related syllabus and curricula for various craft industries and as a reference for craft researchers. PACI has continued to launch new outlets for selling craft products. These outlets are a source of financial support for artisans. Craft products are purchased from artisans and then sold through craft PoS in order to ensure success of craft industry projects.
The Omani Artisan House can rightly be considered as one of the most prominent marketing outlets. It promotes craft investment by providing opportunities to artisans to manage projects. A number of Omani Artisan Houses and craft markets have been set up in Wilayat Ibra in Al Sharqiyah North Governorate, Wilayat Al Buraimi in Al Buraimi Governorate and Wilayat Al Rustaq in Al Buraimi Governorate. PACI has planned to open more craft outlets soon.