Wednesday, October 5, 2016

GOVERNMENT MOOTS STEPS TO BOOST BATIK INDUSTRY by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct. 5, 2016 (Antara) - In an effort to preserve the national culture of Batik and promote it among the Indonesian people, especially the youth, the Industry Ministry is encouraging batik art and also coordinating with the Education and Culture Ministry to make it a part of activities in the vocational high schools.
        The wide range of colours, designs and materials has always made Batik popular among young and old. All Indonesians are proud of and love wearing batik clothes.
        To promote batik further among the younger generations, the government is encouraging the youth to become batik artists, designers and craftsmen. It is noted that the young people understand better the taste and preferences of their fellow citizens. 
    "We are coordinating with the Education and Culture Ministry to include a lesson on batik making as an extra-curricular activity in the vocational high schools," said Gati Wibawaningsih, Director General for Small and Medium Scale Industry of the Industry Ministry.
    He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the "Batik as National Cultural Heritage" expo, on October 3. The expo was organized to mark National Batik Day that is celebrated every year on October 2. Furthermore, the Indonesian Batik Foundation has launched a program titled "Batik of My Creations," said the chairperson of the 2016 National Batik Day Commemoration Organizing Committee, Nita Kenzo.

          The program provides a free training course on batik making to 50 students from Jakarta Vocational High School, 27 of which have a lesson on fashion. "Their creativity has developed well," Kenzo added.     
    Among other dignitaries at the event were Coordinating Minister for Culture and Human Development Puan Maharani and the Chairperson of the Indonesian Batik Foundation Yultin Ginanjar Kartasasmita.
          The intensified batik promotion has boosted the batik industry in the country and overseas. "Opportunities for the Batik markets have opened widely, both locally and abroad," the director general remarked.
         Meanwhile, Minister Puan Maharani said that the government has supported the movement to promote batik because it provides solid activities for the mental revolution program for the younger generations.
         She suggested a synergy in batik-making training, involving the batik industry, to help meet the market demand for batik and provide jobs to the graduates.
         The minister also called for more intensified batik promotion among the younger generations to help them learn more about national batik and avoid buying or using imported batik clothes.
        Indonesia designated October 2 as the National Batik day, following UNESCO's decision to include batik in the UN body's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  The inclusion was made on September 30, 2009.
          UNESCO said, "The techniques, symbolism, and culture surrounding hand-dyed cotton and silk garments, known as Indonesian batik, permeate the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end. Infants are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and the dead are shrouded in funerary batik".
         While celebrating National Batik Day, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) called on the Indonesian people to promote the culture of batik.  He emphasized that batik is part of Indonesia's ancestral culture, and therefore, it should be promoted internationally. The batik clothes industry is one of Indonesia's creative sectors that can boost the national economy, he remarked.
            "Let us develop the batik culture as a creative industry that boosts the national economy. Happy National Batik Day 2016 - Jkw," Jokowi tweeted on his Twitter account on October 2.
        President Jokowi was to be part of a ceremony, in Pekalongan, Central Java, on October 4, to celebrate the eighth National Batik Day.
         However, he could not attend and was represented by Minister of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and Cooperatives AAGN Puspayoga.
        On behalf of the Head of State, the minister officially inaugurated the 2016 Nusantara Batik Week, from October 4 to 9, organized to highlight National Batik Day.
        It features a wide range of batik and traditional culinary from Pekalongan and other regions.
        Pekalongan Mayor Achmad Alf Arslan Djunaid stated in his report that the six-day expo showcases 160 batik and 90 culinary stands and was expected to record sales of Rp6 billion.
         The sales target had increased from Rp4.5 billion last year, noted Supriono, head of the Pekalongan industry, trade and cooperatives and SMEs office.
         Puspayoga said that the love for batik has helped strengthened the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and added that there has been a rise in the national spirit as more Indonesians choose to wear batik clothes, especially people from Sabang (Indonesia's westernmost region) to Merauke (the easternmost region).
         Pekalongan, in particular, is one of the country's centres of batik production popularly referred to as the "city of batik."
   According to Puspayoga, the growth in the batik industry has also helped improve the welfare of batik craftsmen. On the occasion, he also presented aid to local cooperatives and low-interest credit to small-scale batik producers.
         Meanwhile, Manpower Minister M Hanif Dhakiri noted that the batik industry absorbs hundreds of thousands of laborers, enabling Indonesia to compete in the ASEAN Economy Community (AEC) in terms of manpower.
         "The implementation of the AEC facilitates the flow of goods, services, capital, investment, and people making it faster boosting volumes," the minister stated recently.
          He remarked that it is a challenge and an opportunity for the Indonesian batik industry to market the products, especially within the ASEAN region.
           The minister hoped that Indonesia will develop excellent batik industry and manufacturers and will keep growing to become more competitive and creative enough to deal with global challenges.
          "We need creativity, innovation and efficiency in the production process to make Indonesia's batik products maintain their high quality as these compete in international markets," Hanif stressed. ***3***
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(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 05-10-2016 16:14:

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