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'1 town, 1 product' project taken to Honduras

TAIPEI--Taiwan has been helping Honduras to develop its pottery industry under a “one town, one product” project in Valle de Angeles, the operating agency said recently.

The project, launched in the second half of 2011, is aimed at helping to create a niche industry in Valle de Angeles and expand the use of pottery in daily life, said Taiwan's Corporate Synergy Development Center.

“In addition to being works of art, the pottery can be used as pots, bowls, cups and other kitchen ware,” a staff member of the center told CNA recently. “The program also involves other industries related to pottery.”

Over the years, the center, commissioned by Taiwan's government, has successfully helped many communities around Taiwan develop signature products as tourist attractions.

Under a project called “one town, one product,” the center has helped boost the pottery industry in Yingge, New Taipei City, and the wood-carving business in Sanyi, Miaoli County.

Located in Northern Taiwan, Yingge is a well-known tourist town that offers a range of pottery products, from vases and ocarinas to teapots and tableware, produced at hundreds of pottery factories.

Sanyi, also in the north, is a town famous for its wood-carving industry that produces artistic pieces such as statues of deities in Taiwanese folk culture.

Aiming to replicate the success of the “one town, one product” project, Honduras and Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011 to introduce a similar program in Valle de Angeles for two years, the center said.

Residents in Valle de Angeles have been making art works from clay for decades but the products tend to be fragile, the center said.

To address the problem, a Taiwanese consulting crew worked to improve the quality of the kilns used for firing the pottery, the center said.

Another goal of the project is to expand the use of pottery products, it said.

For example, ceramic coffee cups can become a specialty of Valle de Angeles, especially as Honduras is a major coffee producer in Central America, the center said.

Making products with an angel theme to reflect the name of the town, which means “valley of angels,” could be another specialty, the center suggested.

The Taiwan-Honduras project is the first foreign aid program offered by Taiwan to a diplomatic ally to focus on the development of a niche industry.

At a news conference scheduled for Sept. 6, Valle de Angeles is expected to share with the world the success of the project since it was implemented, the center said.

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