Feature: Ugandan cow horn craft producer optimistic of getting more orders, forging new business partnerships at China's CIIE

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 4, 2023
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KAMPALA, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- In a rough two-roomed workshop in Masajja, a suburb of the Ugandan capital of Kampala, Timothy Ssenkandwa and his team carve unique handicrafts out of cow horns, targeting foreign markets.

The focus now is on the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) where Ssenkandwa is optimistic of making more business partnerships and probably winning the favor of more Chinese customers with his culturally enriched pieces.

At Ssenkandwa's showroom of Joy Horn Crafts, boxes of crafts, large and small, showing Ugandan and regional culture and some designed for the Chinese market, have been packed up for the 6th CIIE, scheduled to take place for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai. The expo is expected to attract hundreds of foreign enterprises intending to showcase their products and services to the Chinese market.

Chopsticks, bowls, and massage tools are some of the special products that Ssenkandwa thought would be of interest to the Chinese market.

"We looked at it as a big expo and a big stage to promote our products further into the bigger, wider market," Ssenkandwa told Xinhua in a recent interview. "We have high expectations mainly from partnerships in order to extend the products to the market as we cannot be there all the time. We are looking at getting more orders from both individuals and companies that may be interested in distributing the products."

Joy Horns Crafts is a small enterprise started up by Ssenkandwa's mother after she lost her job nearly 10 years ago. To find something to do that would continuously bring in household income, she established her own business making crafts out of cow horns.

Ssenkandwa said they decided to zero in on making crafts out of cow horns because of their availability and uniqueness.

In African tribal culture, cattle are a symbol of wealth, and Uganda's western region of Ankole is particularly renowned for its abundant long-horned cattle.

"They (the cattle horns) are biodegradable, they are not harmful to the environment or even to the person using them," said Ssenkandwa, adding that the team collects horns from several city abattoirs.

Ssenkandwa and his mother cherish each and every opportunity to showcase their products on major international trade platforms, as the family business primarily targets foreign markets.

As Ssenkandwa heads to China for the CIIE this week, the mother will be in Egypt next week for another trade fair there.

Ssenkandwa said their enterprise is now putting more emphasis on the Chinese market because of its big size and people's growing aesthetic needs. Although this will be the first time the company is exhibiting at the CIIE, its products have previously been exhibited at other trade fairs in China, including the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.

He said his workshop now makes various crafts ranging from kitchenware, and decorations, to jewelry. Various companies have now ventured into making crafts out of horns because of the increasing demand for these types of products that reflect the craftsmanship of African artisans.

"We believe that we can tap into the consumer market in China because of the high demand for luxury products. We have made contacts from a few parties dealing in the crafts industry and we are hoping it will materialize by the end of this year," said Ssenkandwa. Enditem

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