The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Business Reporter
LEADING rural-based women empowerment organisation, Lupane Women’s Development Trust (LWDT) is looking forward to training more youths to venture into contemporary craft production as it forges ahead to meet its export market demand.
LWDT manager Mrs Hildegard Mufukare said the organisation was struggling to meet the demand for its contemporary craft in both local and foreign markets due to low production.
“We are failing to cope with the demand of craft wares due to low production. We are struggling to get new entrants especially young women and as such we have to make use of the elderly women who have been there for some time. However, with the demand for our products in the export market tremendously increasing, we are looking at intensifying our training programmes, particularly targeting youthful women to venture into basketry weaving,” she said.
Last week the organisation shipped craft ware worth about US$7 000 to a client in the Netherlands. LWDT has a membership of 435 women that are into production of contemporary crafts such as interior decorative ornaments such as vases, lamp shades, mats, office trays among others.
The organisation also incorporates weavers from Zubo Trust in Binga and Sabona Trust in Hwange. The organisation’s craft sales has over the last two years experienced a significant growth largely due to its members’ innovations, which has seen an introduction of new products. It sells close to over 5 000 wares a month.
“There’s no doubt that craft production has been the mainstay project, which has managed to play a significant part in improving the livelihoods of most of our members. It’s their ingenuity combined with their intellectual activity and manual dexterity that has seen them creating unique objects that are in demand on the market,” said Mrs Mufukare.
LWDT was recently allocated a loan facility through the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) Fund for International Development as part of its efforts to enhance the capacity of its wide range of enterprises.
“We are going to use the loan we were allocated through Opec Fund for International Development to improve our self-sustainability since the fund supports our farming activities. This year we are focusing on strengthening our business units, which includes the craft, goats, chickens and micro business projects,” said Mrs Mufukare.
The organisation is also looking forward to venturing into leather products manufacturing. Some of its members were trained under Beef-to-Leather Value Chain Support Programme last year.
“We intend to venture into leather products manufacturing through producing products such as school shoes, belts, bags and sandals. We are therefore appealing to well-wishers to assist us in acquiring the requisite machinery to embark on this project,” said Mrs Mufukare.