These articles are searching for potential jobs in different economic sectors. Today's article focuses on basket-making, which is one of our traditional industries. In addition to its economic merit, this craft has a social as well as aesthetic appeal.

Our Traditional industries are numerous and rich due to the various cultures and environments. They are usually categorized according to the materials of which they are made. Thus, there are stone and clay products such as jars and coffee pots; wood products like tables and beds; palm-leaves products such as the different kinds of containers; herbages and flowers products as the perfumes; leather products such as bags.

Baskets, along with other containers, crates, frames and hutches are made of palm leaves.  I choose to highlight ''basket-making'' because it used to be a flourishing industry in the area where I grew up. Too many people, in Eldamar area, used to work in this industry until early eighties when the ugly plastic and nylon containers took over their livelihoods.  I know many women who provide for their families, send the children to schools, prepared their daughters for marriage, and even went to pilgrimage by working in this industry.

Basket-making is a family business. The entire family help in the production: the father and older sons do buying and selling. The mother and her old daughters do the core work.  The children help with many errands like preparing the leaves and making handles for the baskets.

Women usually work in groups during middays – coffee and chat are essential in these gatherings. I imagine that some problems were solved, and many marriages were arranged during these meeting. In some groups, each woman work alone; in others, they co-operate in the production and share the profit. In this way, they earn more because a sort of specialisation is being established.  

Baskets come in different sizes, shapes and strengths according to the purpose of their use. There are shopping-baskets; their size and shape reflects the financial status of the buyer. Stronger baskets are used by farmers and bigger ones are used in city cleaning and similar jobs.

The good news is that this craft does not disappear yet. The concerned people can increase the demand, and the supply will take care of itself. Of course, some novelty and new methods of production and marketing are welcomed. In this regard, I first appeal to the environmentalists, since the plastic and nylon containers are proven to be harmful to the environment. They can encourage the use of the durable and beautiful baskets. Retail centres can also help by stop using the harmful plastic containers and start using the environmentally-friendly baskets. Gadarif State did the right things by banning the use of plastic containers; other states can also encourage the use of baskets for the sake of our environment and traditional industries.

A permanent exhibition is really needed for such products. It can be online with photos, prices and shipping cost so international buyers can buy online and have their products shipped to them. Temporary exhibition can also be made. Anyone can adopt such a project: ''annual exhibition for our traditional industries.” They can also be listed in the catalogues of our exporting items, and be shown in our trade offices and embassies abroad. Sudanese expatriates will be happy to promote their country's products. And contacting giant retrial companies (such as Safeway, Euromarche) can create regular buyers. Such companies want to attract customers by selling environmentally friendly products.  The NGO's working in development and environment fields can also assist in marketing such products.

I write about only one industry, but there are thousands of them needed to be highlighted. In the end, please allow me to pay my homage to the women of this country who work in these industries. They silently do much to their country and families.

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