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NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (February 18, 1998 -PACNEWS/Tohi)---Handicraft producers in Tonga are being encouraged to improve and refine their products –including baskets, hats, and jewelry-- to qualify them for export to markets in Fiji, New Zealand and Hawaii.

Representatives from Tongatrade and the Women's Langafonua Center recently conducted awareness workshops in the outer islands of Vava’u and Ha’apai, with the goal of expanding the handicrafts industry, Radio Tonga reports.

Tongatrade's Rosemarie Taufatofua says many women are interested in exporting their products but lack of knowledge of marketing requirements and techniques.

Tongan handicrafts will be promoted at several trade fairs this year, she said, including the World Expo in Portugal in May, the Noumea Handicrafts Trade Fair in June and an art handicraft exhibition in Hawaii in August.

About 80 percent of women's loans from the Tonga Development Bank goes to the handicraft sector.


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