The Binga Basketry and Weaving community says it is optimistic and looking forward to increase in sales as the country continues to operate under the relaxed level Two lock-down regulations.
Tonga baskets and other decorative baskets are intricately handwoven by both young and old women using split leaves from ilala palm trees.They are a source of income for a majority of the Binga community.The baskets are sold in both local and international markets.
In an interview with The Tenacity Post on Saturday ,Binga Craft Centre Manager Matabbeki Mudenda said the centre whose purpose is to link buyers and sellers has started to receive an increase in orders for the popular Tonga baskets and other decorative ornaments.He said the Centre recently received a US$6 000 order from Japan and a few orders from Harare and other local areas.
” We have about 2000 weavers from various areas scattered across the district such as Manjolo ,Kariyangwe, Sianungu Saba , Siachilaba among others.During the tight lock-down we had total closure of business operations and weavers were one of the hardest hit,” said Mudenda.
He said some weavers had been living in fear of the demise of their trade as the demand and sales of the baskets kept dwindling during the tight lock-down. He said the centre could not reach weavers or conduct business as normal due to the traveling restrictions.” One of our challenges at the centre is transport as we do not have our own vehicle to transport the baskets to local markets .We rely heavily on public transport so with the reintroduction of intercity travel we are able to showcase and transport the baskets to existing and potential markets,”said Mudenda.
The Binga Craft Centre Manager added that the recent orders for the baskets are a lifeline for weavers and the Centre is looking forward to more orders in both local and international markets