Keko furniture makers find a niche in Comoro market

Furniture makers at Keko in Dar es Salaam have found a niche in a lucrative market of Comoro where they have started to export some of their products, especially sofas, tables and cabinets.

The manufacturers said at the moment they sell about 30 sofas, 20 dining tables and 30 cabinets of various types to Comoros per month - opening a new market for the Dar es Salaam furniture industry.

The Keko Furniture Association member, Mr Florian Kushaba, said roughly after every two months businessmen from Comoros come to buy a good quantity of furniture.

“Though our major customers are still Dar es Salaam residents, we have started to receive regular clients from Comoro,” Mr Kushaba who works for Kushaba Commercial Enterprise, told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview.

The association has about 30 members and employed about 60 permanent staff. The furniture bazaar is along Chang’ombe Road.

The price of a seven-seat sofas depending on the type and material used is sold between 700,000/- and 3.0m/-. 

He said their showroom normally sells about 50 sofas, 20 dining tables and 50 wall cabinets per week to various customers mostly from Dar es Salaam.

“These three is our bestseller items most preferred by our customers some of whom come from upcountry, but our main strength is in Dar,” Mr Kushaba said.

Mkopi Furniture Centre Services Director, Mr Jumanne Zuberi said business with Comoros was seasonal and picked up when approaching fasting month of Ramadhan.

“This is the period most Comoros are engaged in social activities, especially marriages, to push up their spending spree,” Mr Zuberi said adding, “furniture is used as gifts to newly wed.”

Keko furniture mart, reputed for its unique furniture designs faces some challenges which include limited space, uncouth middlemen and low capital.

Mr Zuberi said uncouth middleman were its main challenge as they threaten to erode their reputation as they sell low quality furniture, using soft timber from trees that are traditionally not used to make furniture.

These are stationed behind the genuine Keko furniture bazaar along Chang’ombe Road 500 metres from Dar es Salaam’s Vocation Education Training Authority (VETA).

According to him, the association has tried to deal with the threat by introducing some measures, including wearing IDs but failed as some dealers are supporting the middlemen.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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