Kudzai Chikiwa, Business Reporter
THE Nkayi Community Crafts Centre says its maiden participation at the recent Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo has increased their linkage with local and international buyers judging by the growing enquiries being received from clients.
The 60th edition of the ZITF ended on April 28 and attracted 532 direct local exhibitors and 14 foreign countries. By the end of the prime international showcase, Nkayi Craft Centre had received orders worth RTGS$2 675 from customers drawn from different parts of the country and had managed to sell artefacts worth RTGS $628 in cash, one of the representatives said.
“We just had samples hoping to market them to potential customers but due to overwhelming demand by customers from all corners of the country, we ended up selling them,” said Mrs Sozi Mpofu, who was also at ZITF.
She said the “Nkayi basket” design was the most popular product at the fair that yielded a larger part of their income.
“This basket has become popular with people countrywide. I had brought a few but due to the demand I had to weave another one while a customer was waiting,” said Mrs Mpofu.
She said they were grateful that Zimbabweans appreciate local products and hoped growth in the market will boost their earnings and contribution to the economy.
“We are very happy that local people are supporting us as you can see that most of these products were placed by people even from Harare. Our products are now becoming popular even in other cities and towns, which is a positive thing for our culture as well,” said Mrs Mpofu.
She said they have since communicated with other producers in Nkayi to start working on producing more artefacts that were ordered to meet market demand.
“We have so many orders that we should supply so we are working on them. We have compiled customers’ contact details so we will be updating them and arranging transport to their cities and towns,” she said.
Mrs Mpofu however, said transportation of finished goods to the market remains a challenge as they depend on a single bus.
“Customers hesitate to drive to Nkayi because of bad roads and inadequacy of public transport. However, we are happy that Government has started rehabilitating the road to Nkayi so it will be easier even for us and customers to drive to our exhibition centre,” she said.
Nkayi Community Craft Centre was built with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Government. The facility provides exhibition space for various handicraft products with a higher possibility for increased marketing of artefacts domestically and for exports. — @tamary98