Paraguayan artisans are eyeing export markets with Canadian support News

27 June, 2023

Pablo Maidana is a Paraguayan artisan. He specializes in leather production, a trade that has been passed down in his family from his father. Pablo owns the Artesanía en Cuero JC Company in Atyra City, Cordillera Department, Paraguay, and produces a wide range of leather goods. (Note: you can follow Pablo’s company on Instagram at: artesaniaencuero_jc).

Some of the key challenges that Pablo faces as a micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) relate to compliance with various administrative procedures, such as business registration, registration with the tax authorities, being able to issue invoices, and having a business license.

The Export Deployment Mechanism for Trade and Development (EDM), a program funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, and implemented by Cowater International, has been providing technical assistance to the Paraguyan Institute of Handicrafts (IPA) to support the design of an export development training course and provide examples of policies and programs tailored to the needs of handicraft producers in Paraguay. The ultimate goal is to support their competitiveness and ability to enter export markets.

For example, a training course was designed to be delivered by government and non-governmental trade support organizations and producer associations to handicraft producers. The course adopted a “train-the-trainer” approach to enhance local capacity and focused on engaging various marginalized groups, such as women, Indigenous Peoples in order to enhance its accessibility.

Moreover, EDM supported an inventory of export development support programs and services compiled for handicraft producers, including an assessment of best practices, and recommendations for the establishment of programs and services appropriate for the Paraguayan context. In total, 45 persons (31 females and 14 males) participated in the training workshops, including 16 artisans (9 females and 7 males) who benefited from training sessions on export readiness.

“Having participated in the training [supported by the Export Deployment Mechanism] helped me realize that exporting is not as difficult as it seems, that there are tools that can be used and also institutions that can support this process, and that is the path I am heading towards with my enterprise”, said Pablo Maidana.

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