By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio will become one of the first Brazilian states to issue a free identity card for craft producers in the state, allowing producers to register and enter the formal market with more ease. The process means that artisans and producers will be able to enjoy the benefits of being part of the formal job market.
Beginning tomorrow, March 29th, Rio’s state tourism company TurisRio will work with the state Craft Program to deliver the identity cards. Distribution of the cards, called Carteira Nacional de Artesão/Trabalhador Manual (National Artisan Card/Manual Worker) will begin in Angra dos Reis.
To obtain a card, producers only need register with the Brazilian Craft Registry Information System (SICAB), which is free and allows craft producers to participate in national and international fairs, workshops and courses.
“Anything that formalizes our craft really helps us to grow, and have access to new markets,” said Melissa Pellegrin, the French-Brazilian owner of jewelry brand Muito Merci, told The Rio Times.
With handicrafts accounting for economic activity in 78.6 percent of Brazil’s municipalities, plus more than 8.5 million Brazilians using handicrafts as a form of family income according to the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistices (IBGE), Pellegrin says that the identity card will help lower-income sellers gain access to the market.
“As this [card] is for free it is clearly aimed to the one most in financial need. Sometimes the craft is the main income, to be formalized by the state gives a sense of be ‘part of the game’, of the society – something very far from those artisans’ reality,” she added.
TurisRio also believes that the program will boost the economic impact of tourism in the region. Speaking to local media, state tourism secretary Nilo Sergio Felix said, “Each of the tourist regions of the state has unique characteristics in the works produced.”
Adding, “The artisan from Rio will, from now on, be considered, formally a professional of the sector. Our work is for the benefit of the class, always seeking to boost it by promoting entrepreneurship.”
Almost 8,000 crafts producers have already registered with the program, which TurisRio believes will help producers going forwards.
“Artisanal activity in Rio is going through a very important period,” Nea Mariozz, the program’s coordinator, told local media.
“In addition to the valorization of the sector, [the program represents] a hope for all these professionals,” he added.
“With the document, the artisan can invest even more in his product through training, conquering an even bigger market.”