- Published on Friday, 17 August 2012 01:00
- Written by LEAH SAMSON in Mwanza
- Hits: 576
LOOKING desperate, despondent and anxious, Frank Justine (24) who sells handicrafts at Capri point in Mwanza city thinks that his business is now facing unprecedented challenges.
Mr Justine, a father of four, told the ‘Daily News’ that neither the foreigners nor locals are now willing to buy the handicrafts being sold at his timber made kiosk and “In the year 2012 for example, we used to get as many customers as possible especially those from abroad, but nowadays things have changed for a worse.
I think this is happening because there are very few foreigners coming here in this season and also the locals are not willing to buy these items,” explained Mr Justine.
Mr Justine (48) added that; the business is seasonally conducted and spilt into high and low season. Most of the high season is the month of May, June, July and August where the western countries experienced winter season and the customers are many, while a trend of the customers tend to go down at the month of September, October, November and December which is also known as the Low season.
“As you can see right now we have plenty of handicrafts here pilled in our kiosk, but let me tell you that I havent received even a single customer for the past ten days as only a few people come here to watch the items, ask prices and simply go without buying anything,” claimed the handicraft seller.
A nearby seller, who identified himself as Brothern Yunza (23), express his feeling about the dwindle of the business that “This year the business is very difficult especially in this high season compared to previous years, I think the World Olympics taking place in London may have impacted negativelly on our businesses as many tourists are attending the games,” he speculated.
Another seller Joseph Mwanry shares same sentiments adding, “Many people especially those from Europe have moved from their mother land to London to attend the Olympics games and that is why we face a lack of customers to buy our items,” he explained.
The handicraft sellers in Mwanza are not only confined to Capri point but also are found in other places such as Liberty and Nkurumah Street. Most of them claimed that in the past they used to earn between 4m/- and 10m/- a month, but now, frankly speaking I have only succeeded to earn less than 1m/- since January, this year and this has sharply deteriorated as compared to last year when I used to sell over 200 items that earned me over 2m/- per month,” he says.
Apart from business being hard, the dealers and sellers also complained of insufficient availability of raw materials such as wood (mpingo tree), permanent place to do business and lack of support from the Government and financial institutions.
It is very hard for us to secure a loan from financial institutions because they always put very strict and unbearable loan conditions that an ordinary seller like me cant afford to meet them,” lamented one seller at Nkurumah Road in the city.
But others like Mr Jema Abraham think that the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources should think of discouraging a massive exportation of timbers so that we locals can have access to the raw materials for manufacturing handicrafts and other furniture related items.
"It is also important for the government to create enabling environment that would boost internal markets for our products. At this moment we heavily rely on foreign markets which is not only unreliable but also not good for us and the national economy at large,” he suggests.
Relevant authorities also need to assist in promoting of products to other parts of the world. There are many people abroad who are interested in buying such items but they are simply unaware of the existence of these products.
“If we get the permanent place for our job, I believe I will earn to the point of establishing the local artistic items company, which could also boost up Tanzanian economy, comparatively to the increase the employment rate,” says Mr Justine.
Ally Meja is among the sellers in Mwanza city and I started this business since 2006 and the major challenges facing us are a lack of strong capital and unwillingness of the locals to support us especially in buying our items.”