"In October 2019, we had received a request to export 30 to 50 products of this fossil stone handicraft," Mulyanto, a craftsman in Cimarga District, Lebak, remarked on Friday.
Chairs, tables, cigarette ashtrays, souvenirs, and statues are some products in high demand among foreign customers.
Lebak art stone handicraft products are unique in comparison with bamboo or wood products.
Mulyanto admitted to a steady rise in export demand in the past two months.
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Reflecting the same trend, Usman, 45, a fossil stone craftsman from Cidengdong, Sajira Sub-district, Lebak, admitted to have currently received several orders of chairs and tables priced at between Rp8,000 and Rp25,000 (US$0.5 to US$1.7) per kilogram.
Most of his foreign buyers directly approached fossil stone craftsmen in Lebak, circumventing collectors in Jakarta, Bali, or Bandung.
Earlier, the marketing of fossil stone crafts in the international market was mostly through agents in Jakarta. However, currently, several buyers come to Lebak and do their business directly with the craftsmen.
"We continue to increase production since market demand is relatively high," Usman noted.
The local government of Lebak has encouraged fossil stone craftsmen spread across 16 locations in the districts of Sajira, Rangkasbitung, Cimarga, Maja, Cipanas, and Curugbitung to sell their products abroad.
Those areas are the centers of fossil stone products as raw materials are found plentifully in forests and rivers in the surrounding area.
Residents of those areas on a daily basis sell fossil stone to several craftsmen in the price range of Rp5,000 to Rp10,000 (US$0.35 to US$0.7) per kilogram. Related news: Bali`s exports to Spain increased 38.93%