The showcase of local artists, entrepreneurs, and producers demonstrated hidden talents and skills within Palau that have been mostly overlooked. The large crowd of enthusiastic shoppers that flooded Palasia Hotel all day yesterday, however, reflected the strong interest in locally made products and talents.

“We loved to see the local talent and entrepreneurship come together. Thank God for COVID so we can have this opportunity to bring this out,” expressed Irene Olkeriil, President of Palau Chamber of Commerce, regarding the event.

Featured as Biodiversity Friendly Local Product Showcase, sponsored by the Ministry of Fishery and Agriculture, it sought to highlight local products and local artists. Over 50 different local producers and artists participated in the event.

Products ranged from woven goods and ceramics to different types of artworks with different mediums such as wood, glass, ceramics, shells, canvas, and paper that display artworks, pieces of jewelry, and decorative items. Other authentic local products include reef-safe sunscreen, different types of coconut oils, soaps, food items such as noni cookies and coconut candies, locally canned food items, and recycled products such as bags and decorative ornaments. The art showcased included musical talents from different local performers.

“I would like to see more of these events and to also invite students to come and see what we have here and the opportunities that they could aspire to in the future.  We want them to see other positive role models.  And if they have natural talents, they will see this event and be able to nurture those talents,” stated Leah Asanuma-Gillham, owner of Pure Palau Virgin Coconut Oil. Mrs. Gillham has been producing Pure Palau products since 2005 and Pure Palau products are seen in major stores on the island as well as in hotel duty-free stores. The products are now available online.

The local participants at the event come from all walks of life and different ages, reflecting a wide range of talent and entrepreneurial spirit.

“I would like to see this taken to the states, encourage state governments to include local producers in their events, and showcase their talents as well. Like they require certain food at their events, they should require local products,” expressed Samuel Adelbai, a local artist.

Not all the local producers attended.  Some sent products for others to showcase on their behalf. Usually, local products are featured during Olchotel Belau Fair, but artists and producers are rarely featured. In contrast, this event highlighted the producers and artists that produce these authentic biodiversity-friendly products.

Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Environment that hosted the event had sponsored a similar event featuring local food producers and processors as means to promote locally raised and produced food products.

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