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Nkayi basket weavers search for markets

Nkayi women who are into basket weaving have bemoaned lack of markets for their wares forcing them to sell them at cheaper prices.  

The women weave baskets, hats as a way of sustaining themselves.

Speaking on the sidelines of a sports and arts festival at Nesigwe Primary School as part of the International Day of Rural Women commemorations organised by Habakkuk Trust on Friday, the women said lack of markets has dampened their entrepreneurial spirit.

“We have a lot of baskets that we weave but due to lack of markets we end up throwing some of the products away. Reeds are everywhere in our area but we have lost hope that we will ever make money out of them,” said Elda Ndlovu.

Lupane Women’s Centre Director Hildergard Sihwa told the women that without a ready market it will be difficult for them to make money from their products.

“When I came to Nkayi I realised that you have so many reeds but what you do not have is linkage with markets. You can make a lot of money from these reeds if you manage to unlock proper markets,” said Sihwa.

The Director noted that women in Lupane are making money as they are selling their wares in foreign currency and there was need to come up with ways in which they can collaborate with their peers in Nkayi.

“Women in Lupane joined forces and worked together and monthly they can make up to US$6 000,” said Sihwa.

“We are going towards the festive season and the orders will increase and when they make orders they want fifty to one hundred baskets but if we ask one woman to provide those baskets she will not manage but if we work together it becomes easy.”

Sihwa said they have had interactions with the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Sithembiso Nyoni who has promised to construct a craft centre for women to sell their wares.

“In Lupane we fail to meet and fulfil our orders but in Nkayi you are complaining about lack of markets which shows that there is a huge gap that needs to be filled because markets are wide and huge,” said Sihwa.  

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