Business News of 2014-05-21

Basket weavers seek external support

The Bolgatanga basket weavers who have been recently trained by the National Institute of Design (NID) in India have called on government and other corporate bodies to assist them financially in order to produce their baskets on a larger scale.

According to them, all that they learnt during their two and half years in India would be a waste if they did not get money to buy straws to weave the baskets.

They said they had learnt new things such as making baskets which had lamps, baskets that could be used as plates as well as baskets that could be used as chairs. What they need now are funds to produce them on a larger scale, they told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS after the Indian High Commission held a basketry exhibition for them in Accra on May 13, 2014.

Earlier, the Deputy High Commissioner of India, Mr Ajaneesh Kumar, said as part of the second India Africa Forum Summit which was held in May 2011, the government of India offered a major design intervention to basket weavers in five African countries which included Ghana.

He said the project was implemented by the internationally renowned National Institute of Design and supported by the Ministry of External Affairs in India.

Mr Kumar said the project was to help people at the grass root to acquire skills in basket weaving.

He said so far, 20 weavers in Bolgatanga have been trained through workshops in the country and NID respectively.

He also added that a range of 30 products have been developed which span across personal accessories and lifestyle products with interesting integration of leather and wood as secondary materials, adding further value to the products.

The wife of the Vice President, Mrs Matilda Amissah Arthur, also added that the women already knew how to weave the baskets but by going to India, they had been exposed to new techniques and new ways of weaving baskets.

She also advised them not to keep the skills they had learnt to themselves but share their new knowledge with others in the industry.

“The Indians cannot train all the basket weavers in Bolgatanga so the ones who have been trained will have to go down there and train the others,” she said.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur further urged them to form co-operatives so that they could meet bulk demand for their products.