The month of April ushered in ATA’s new initiative in the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan and Campeche, implementing a complete diagnostic of the artisan value chain in the Yucatan Peninsula. Funded by the W. K. Kellogg foundation (WKKF), ATA is addressing the problem of poverty amongst the indigenous population, with a core focus on enhancing the craft industry. It aims to identify and understand factors impacting the artisanal value chain in the production of handcrafts and artisanal specialty foods.

The ATA Mexico team is evaluating the artisanal sector by analyzing the limitations in local supply of raw materials, the gaps in availability of commercial services and the needs for responding to market demand. ATA’s goal in this project is   understanding the artisans’ skills and business organizations, so we can bring them to sustainable growth.

ATA launched the initiative by creating alliances with local partners, to promote the goal of improving living and working conditions of Mayan artisans. “Crafts of each region will be examined for their aesthetic appeal, cultural roots and market potential. We will include textile weaving and embroidery, hammocks made of yarns of Sanseveria plant, wood, plant fibers and ceramics”, says Monika Steinberger, ATA’s Director of Program Management and Development.

In addition to preserving cultural heritage, the ATA Mexico team will explore adding value to the artisanal foods produced in the Yucatan Peninsula. This effort, a first for ATA, will find ways to transform local handcrafted foods into export-quality products for the tourism and global markets.