Handicrafts fetch Ghana $17m
EXPORT earnings accruing to the state from the export of handicrafts between 1999 and September, 2001, amounted to $17 million (?122.4 billion). Out of the total, Bolgatanga baskets fetched $7 million (? 50.4 billion).
Mr Mahami Salifu, the Upper East Regional Minister, announced this, when he opened the First Bolga Baskets Awards and Exhibition Day at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
The celebration, which was on the theme : “ Quality Bolga Baskets for the Global Market” was to commend the basket weavers for their contribution towards the export trade and to motivate them to produce good quality products for export.
Mr Salifu said a look at global trade today reveals that there is the need for the adoption of new strategies and procedures, if any industry is to keep up with the pace of development.
We are observing a special day, not only to create a platform for interaction with our basket weavers, but also to draw attention to the contribution they have made and continue to make to the economic prosperity of our nation he stressed .
The regional minister commended the organisers, the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC), the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA), Aid to Artisans Ghana and other stakeholders, for their foresight.
Mr Mahami emphasised that, through the efforts of the weavers, the export trade in handicraft items has seen significant growth and consequently increased the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
He noted that, in the early 1980s when, through the GEPC, the baskets were introduced to the German market, large volumes have left Bolga for the international markets.
Mr Mahami also observed that the baskets have become so popular that there have been instances where baskets originating from Asia, have been labelled “Bolga baskets” saying that the baskets are now being introduced to new markets in Japan and the United States.
However,he said there are new models and beautifully made handcrafts pouring in from Asia and the Caribbeans. Therefore, in spite of the achievement so far, there is still the need to adequately educate and equip the weavers to be able to operate in this competitive environment, if Ghana’s handicraft exports are to survive.
The Regional Officer of the GEPC, Ms Mariam Mensah, in a welcoming address, urged the weavers to continue with their good works , saying ‘we are appreciative of your effort through your handiworks.”