In a bid to strengthen international partnerships and promote knowledge exchange, the Department of Science and Technology - Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) met with representatives from India's North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Cooperation (NEHHDC) last 19 March 2024. The meeting aimed to explore opportunities for collaboration in the areas of handicrafts, arts, and culture.

"We welcome the visit of our esteemed guests from India and our partners from the Embassy of India in the Philippines. We hope that this meaningful exchange of knowledge will lead to more avenues for international collaboration in the field of forest products utilization,” said FPRDI OIC Director Dr. Rico J. Cabangon.

The discussions centered on the fusion of science and the arts, product authenticity and traceability and sustainability. Cabangon also highlighted the Institute’s R&D initiatives and its commitment to sustainable development.

After the dialogue, the guests also toured the Forest Products Innovation Center which houses unique and innovative wood and non-wood forest products; and the Bamboo Musical Instrument Processing Center, which showcases instruments developed in the Center and other BMIs made by several commercial makers and indigenous groups in the country.

The delegation was composed of NEHHDC Managing Director Brig. Rajiv Kumar Singh (Retd.); North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd., Managing Director Cmde. Rajiv Ashok (Retd.); North Eastern Council Adviser (Horticulture) Shri Mangsatabam Iboyaima Meitei; Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region Deputy Secretary Shri S.D. Meena; Second Secretary of the Economic and Commerce Wing Mr. Shiv Lal Meena; and Marketing Executive (E&C Wing) Ms. Chantal Therese Laude.

Based in India, NEHHDC is an organization dedicated to advancing indigenous crafts by linking artisans with potential markets, thereby creating economic, cultural, and social prospects for creators, while enriching cultural value for consumers. ### (Maybell Mariella A. Palaypayon, 2024)