• Artisans between 18 and 30 will be able to benefit from the Youth Credit Program, which provides financing of up to 150 thousand pesos, he said.
  • Today,  support is provided for 60 percent more artisans than in 2012, he said.
  • The president led the 41st edition of the National Grand Folk Art Prize Competition.

As he led the prize-giving ceremony for the 41st edition of the National Grand Folk Art Prize Competition today, President Enrique Peña Nieto witnessed the signing of the Agreement between the Tax Administration Service (SAT) and the National Fund for the Promotion of Craftsmanship (FONART) by their directors Aristoteles Núñez and Liliana Romero respectively.

During the event, he explained that the purpose of the Agreement is to support craftsmanship, so that it has full recognition and, above all, so that artisans have access to various forms of supports derived from formalization.

“It's not about charging you more taxes,” he said, "the point is for artisans to have access to many benefits provided by formality; such as being eligible for credit, and having social security”.

He added that he has instructed the National Entrepreneurs’ Institute  to ensure that artisans who are already in the formal sector receive support in the order of 50,000 pesos. Moreover, artisans between 18 and 30 will be able to benefit from the Youth Credit Program, which provides financing of up to 150,000 pesos.

In the Adolfo López Mateos Hall of the official residence of Los Pinos, the president said that today, 60 percent more artisans receive support than in 2012. “The list of craftsmen has increased, together with the activity they perform and the support they receive from the government, through various subsidies and forms of financial support to boost their activity,” he declared.

He explained that in Mexico, craftmanship is present throughout the country. “It is estimated that there are between six to seven million artisans engaged in this activity, which for many families is perhaps their only source of income”.

He said FONART has been working together with the Social Development Secretariat to draw up a national register of artisans and a Mexican craftsmanship observatory. They will be used to create a National Production Database; develop regional indicators and define the location of Artisanal Tourist Corridors, so that they can be promoted.

He declared that there is an enormous range of areas where craftwork can be promoted for tourism.  “I think there is a great niche opportunity in craftsmanship. The Tourism Secretary, who is responsible for this area, is aware of this, which is why we are identifying very specific corridors to show domestic and foreign tourists the cultural richness reflected in the craftsmanship of many Mexican families,” he said.

The president said that FONART has been updated to improve craftsmanship by promoting healthy work environments and health training and improving workshops.

He said that through this organization, attempts are being made to improve the organization of artisans in the marketing of their products so that they can avoid middlemen and through the support provided by FONART, sell their pieces directly.

The president said that when he has exchanged gifts with foreign dignitaries, he has always given them handcrafted Mexican pieces to promote the country’s cultural richness and the craft work of many Mexicans. He said that they have been astonished at the quality of the gifts they have received.

Noting that over 1,200 pieces were signed up for this event, of which 131 were awarded prizes, the president congratulated those who chose to participate in the competition and the winning crafts persons.

“Congratulations on the great effort you have made to ensure that today we have these beautiful pieces.” “Behind each one is love, heart, what each of our artisans wishes to project.”

During the event, President Peña Nieto presented four awards: One Presidential Award to Rosario Núñez Flores, from Mexico State; two Grand Folk Art Competition Prizes to Aurelia Ojeda Meléndrez from Baja California and Bonifacio Nicolás Cruz from Oaxaca; and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mario Augusto Rodríguez from Michoacán.

PRESIDENT EPN IS COMMITTED TO MAKING THIS ACTIVITY A BRIDGE TO FINANCIAL SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND DIGNITY: JOSÉ ANTONIO MEADE KURIBREÑA

Social Development Secretary José Antonio Meade(SEDESOL) declared that President Enrique Peña Nieto has a commitment to craftsmanship and artisans, “and above all, a commitment to ensuring that this activity is a bridge to financial self-sufficiency and dignity.”

He declared that SEDESOL, through FONART, is working to help artisans with marketing. ”We have worked a great deal this year from FONART, with several elements which, from our perspective, are important: we want to significantly expand our craftsmen’s spheres of commercialization,” he said.

He also told President Enrique Peña Nieto, “We wish to acknowledge the craftsmen with these awards, but we also want to work with them in including them in the formal sector, as you have instructed us.”

He added that the government wants health, education and higher incomes for craftsmen. ”We want to see handicrafts displayed in the best hotel chains, and we are grateful to the Tourism Secretariat for their willingness to make that possible. And we also want to see them on Amazon, so that Mexican handicrafts can have a favorable position vis-à-vis the rest of the world,” he declared.

To do this, he said, “We will have to help them, not only by opening marketing channels, but also by achieving the formalization they require so that they can leverage these opportunities.”

Parallel to the country's modernization, Mexican VALUES AND TRADITIONS should also be strengthened: ERNESTO TORRES CANTÚ, BANAMEX

Ernesto Torres Cantu, the representative of Grupo Financiero Banamex and co-sponsor of the award, said that parallel to the country’s modernization, values and traditions should also be strengthened. Accordingly, this institution is joining the government’s efforts to recognize and promote Mexico’s finest craftsmen and disseminate the best of numerous rich expressions of folk art.

He said that as a result, “With the same determination with which we are promoting and supporting the structural transformation of the country promoted by President Peña Nieto, we are implementing a wide-ranging scheme of social commitment in many different areas, for the benefit of Mexican society, in the various communities where we operate throughout the country.”

He recalled that in 1996, through Fomento Cultural Banamex, the Program to Support the Great Masters of Popular Art was created, which has allowed the institution to, “Liaise and join forces with public and private bodies  in the appreciation and promotion of fok art.”

“No doubt,” he added, “one of the best examples has been our support for this Grand National Folk Arts Prize, organized annually by the Social Development Secretariat, in which we have proudly collaborated for more than a decade together with our strategic partners: the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation and the Roberto Hernández Ramírez Foundation”.

He declared that in the course of 15 years of close collaboration between FONART, Fomento Cultural Banamex and allied foundations, over 1,500 master craftsmen have already benefitted, which he regarded as “A good example of what can be achieved with the sum of wills between public and private entities to achieve a common cultural and social purpose”.

WE WON THE PRIZES WITH EFFORT AND THEY CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES: ROSARIO NÚÑEZ FLORES

On behalf of  the winners of the Grand Folk Art Prize, Rosario Núñez Flores, from Tenancingo, Mexico State, thanked President Enrique Peña Nieto for presenting these awards, “Which we all won with so much effort and which can change our lives".

In her case, the winner of the Presidential Award, a shawl weaver, said that with the prize money, “I will be able to buy a plot of land where I can live with my husband and children.”

She asked the president not to forget his people and communities.

“We need so many things, because we cannot manage on our own. We can continue rescuing craft work, but improving artisans’ lives should be a responsibility of the government and its institutions; of society, so that people don't haggle over our prices; and of universities, so that they help us improve our production,” she declared.

She said that craftsmen do not want to be given anything for free, just to be helped with what they can do. "For example, so that we can sell without intermediaries, be given a fair price, have our ways of organization respected, have the handicrafts of true Mexican artisans displayed in the areas of tourism, and have our children learn to make craft work but without having to go through what we suffered.