Beautiful Bali and its Local Crafts People – The Mitra Bali Story

“Fair trade is an alternative form of trade emphasising dialogue, transparency and mutual respect between the producers and the consumers.
Another world is possible!”

Established in Bali, Indonesia back in 1993, Mitra Bali has been working to empower a large group of traditional, small-scale, but highly-skilled handicraft producers & therefore supporting Bali Island’s economic and social development.


Bali is a beautiful island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs.
The volcanic mounts of Agung and Batur are the two towering peaks of Bali which are far from dormant!
The capital is Denpasar and the total population of Bali is approximately 4,225,000

Known as “The Coral Triangle”, Bali Sits in the middle of the world’s richest waters for corals & marine biodiversity.
Not just 600-odd species of coral, but turtles, more than 2000 species of fish,
including tuna – a major food source for the local communities.

Interestingly, you do not have to go far to find traditional Balinese massage in Bali – the island has around 1,200 spas!

Combining Hinduism with some Buddhist mythology, ancestral spirits, animism, (black) magic and indigenous deities,
Balinese Hinduism has a high number of gods!

This complex belief system results in an island with more than 20,000 shrines (pura), which is why it’s called the Island of the Gods.

You can read my blog post Fascinating Facts About Bali, Indonesia That You Probably Didn’t Know! to discover more about this beautiful island.


The title of this blog is “Beautiful Bali and its Local Crafts People – The Mitra Bali Story” Well these artisans contribute greatly to the development of Bali’s tourist industry, making gifts & souvenirs for visitors to purchase.
However, there is a downside to this development of the tourist industry,
as only a small portion of the benefits of the tourist industry are ever enjoyed by the village craft producers themselves.
Instead, it is the owners of the rows of art & craft shops lining the streets of certain tourist hot-spots who profit from the tourist trade.

Mitra Bali Fair Trade Female Producers, Indonesia

Mitra Bali Fair Trade Female Producers, Indonesia

The hard work of the artisans, who are vital and at the heart of the industry is barely recognised
and it is mainly the “middlemen” who reap the benefits.
Craft producers rarely receive a fair deposit before starting their work
and they seldom know to whom or to which country their products have been sold or traded, or at what price.

Mitra Bali Fair Trade Pottery Producers, Indonesia

Close-up – Mitra Bali Fair Trade Pottery Producers

These problems all arise from a single cause:  the model of trade in which the business policy that prevails is neither fair or just,
in terms of the relationships between the craft producers and the employers or “middlemen”.

As a result, the “middlemen” are becoming more prosperous, while the poor craft producers remain impoverished and in need.



Based on these realities, Mitra Bali is actively involved in assisting these marginalised craft producers
to understand and develop a Fair Trade business model.

Mitra Bali Fair Trade Producers in Indonesia

Mitra Bali Fair Trade Artisans in their workshop

This model ensures there is:-

1/ A clear dialogue, equality and a sense of mutual respect throughout the production process.

2/ The producers always receive 50% of the total payment up front.

3/ They are paid promptly, the payment being a percentage of the suitable and fair sale price,
which is calculated together with the artisans themselves.

4/ Mitra Bali also has regular, free, training workshops on design and product development,
including ways to help small-scale producers develop their businesses.

5/ Mitra Bali has an environmental program replanting albesia (blalu) trees, helping to protect
the fate of Bali’s natural environment, which is being demolished by investors hungry for land.

Mitra Bali Fair Trade Producers, Indonesia Crafts

Indonesian Crafts – carved from local wood



“We know that what we have done, are doing, and will do is still far from our hopes and dreams…
that is why we must continue this process. Another world is possible.”

Bracelet with Rectangular Shell Pieces

Bracelet with Rectangular Shell Pieces


The FAIR Trade Store is a proud member of BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK (British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers).

“Thank you for reading my blog post.

I hope you understand more about the issues faced by the artisans of this beautiful island.

Have you yourself ever been to Bali?
I`d love to read your views and experiences there in the Comments section below” – Paul