Assessment of the Craft Sector of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

March-November 2017


Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), Aid to Artisans is implementing a complete diagnostic of the artisan value chain in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  The problem ATA is addressing is the severe poverty of the indigenous population in Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo. The task is to identify beneficiaries, engage partners, collect data on artisan potential and market demand, for the overall goal of strengthening families’ economic security. The rationale for conducting such an assessment is the known impact of artisan development on poverty alleviation and family economic security in other regions of Mexico, the strong tourism industry, the high demand of artisanal products globally, and the strong craft skills in indigenous communities.

During the assessment, ATA will evaluate the handcraft industry from multiple points of view: desk research, on-site interviews with potential beneficiaries, local partners, buyers and “key informants” from government, educational sector and business community. Most importantly, ATA will:

  • Identify artisan groups and their skill levels: Crafts of each region will be examined as to their aesthetic appeal, cultural roots, environmental impact and market potential. We will include textile weaving and embroidery, hammocks made of yarns of the Sansevieria plant, wood, plant fibers, vines, seed pods, ceramics, bee’s wax and – with funding by others – lion fish fins, seashells and other maritime elements for jewelry.  The special area of “local artisanal foods” will also be investigated, as these products are in demand in the craft value chain.
  • Analyze the macro and micro economic aspects of craft, the constraints in local raw material supply, gaps in business services and the gap in alignment of current craft production vs. market demand.
  • Engage local partners who can support artisan communities on a sustainable basis, such as Instituto de la Mujer – Campeche and Quintana Roo, Fundación Mexicana para el Desarrollo Rural – Campeche, Pro de la Mujer Campeche, Promaya, ISAAGRO, Haciendas del Mundo, Semillas and Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV) – Mérida. We will establish close ties with partners already assembled by WKKF, a strategy that has already been successful in ATA’s Chiapas project.
  • Assess the market potential for craft sales to the tourist industry and the international market, by reaching out to craft and gift stores, galleries, hotels and resorts along the coast and to the great colonial towns and other tourist destinations. Consult with our international buyer network and obtain industry research to gauge global market potential.
  • Focus on how to combine cultural heritage and market demand. Identify ways to celebrate and preserve cultural identity, and support its integration into the social and economic fabric of the region.
  • Seek agreements on findings and recommendations from all stakeholders.


Accomplishment to date:

Please check out this video summarizing the findings of the assessment in the Yucatán Peninsula.


Project Lead in US

Monika Steinberger


Project Lead in Mexico

Maria-Eugenia Piñeda Melendez