BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
BULAWAYO-BASED company Nnino Ceramics plans to penetrate the international market like European Union to increase its exports, an official has said.
The company, established in 2015 by Mary Filannino, manufactures hand painted and sculptured tableware.
In an interview, Nnino Ceramics factory and production manager Zondani Phiri told NewsDay Business that they were currently exporting in the region to countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Angola.
“We do tableware and each and every product is handmade and hand painted, which makes it unique and original. We have got market locally and regionally, regionally, its South Africa, Zambia and Angola. We are trying to penetrate all over the world, so that we can get exporting. We are already exporting, but we need to push,” Phiri said.
Phiri, however, would not be drawn into disclosing their export figures.
“Our products have got high potential. There are so many opportunities in the ceramics industry because the product sells itself. So the opportunities are very high.”
Phiri said they buy their raw materials from South Africa, but foreign currency shortage was hampering them.
“Our clay, our paints, our brushes and everything we buy them from South Africa. So we need foreign currency in order for us to produce. That’s why we are trying by all means to have more exports than local,” he said.
“We have to make sure that we produce 1 500 pieces a month. But now it depends on the orders. If we get an order which needs more than our stipulated target, then we have to hire artists in order to speed up, but our production line is 1 500 pieces a month.” “Sometimes you get orders which are less than the target. So it forces you to lay off some employees. Challenges that we are facing at the moment are to do with the country’s economic environment.”
Ceramics, according to art critic Tony Monda, is a billion-dollar industry due to the advances made in ceramic engineering, material science and research.
It is now also an important field of science and its applications continue to expand as researches develop new kinds of ceramics to serve different purposes.
If fully supported, the sector has potential to increase foreign currency inflows into the country.
Ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as pots, pitchers, bowls, vases plates, figures, tiles and a host of other tableware. Some ceramics products are regarded as fine art, while others as industrial or applied art objects, or artifacts in archaeology.