Juapong Textiles comes alive

Textile Local Over the years, the company has endured several challenging phases

Thu, 29 Oct 2020 Source: Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid

The sprawling layout of the now Volta Star Textiles Limited is impressive. Beneath the veneer, however, is a collection of old, dilapidated buildings, grown weeds, and a clear paucity of the kind of vibrance that once characterized a working productive company – livelihood for many it was.

Indeed, many of the older people of the Juapong area still recall the “good ole days’ with nostalgia. First established in 1968, the Juapong Textiles Company grew to become an important avenue of employment in both the formal and informal sectors.

Over the years, the company has endured several challenging phases, some of which have been near-death experiences for the company. The story is not much different today. Only a shell of its former state, the company now operates with a skeleton staff and significantly reduced production.

For about an hour on October 28th, however, Juapong Textiles came alive. Temporarily converted into a make-shift breast cancer screening location, it was the first stop on the Volta Region tour by the running mate of the NDC, Professor Naana Opoku-Agyemang.

Met with exuberant cheers, she toured the screening locations and interacted with the volunteer teams administering the screenings.

Those moments of exuberance and energy stood in stark contrast to the remains of a company of old glory. But it is perhaps a symbol of what is to come in the future; an opportunity to revive the company and restore it to becoming once again “The pride of Tongu”.

Known for its world-class yarn and grey baft-producing capabilities, it remains a promising avenue for providing jobs for the people in Tongu and surrounding communities. This is especially so, given the collapse of the Aveyime Rice Project in the nearby Central Tongu District. Indeed, for a country with a significant and rapidly growing youth population, this would be a welcome development. The thirst for jobs among the youth of the community is unmistakable and their plea for a revival of the company is driven primarily by the simple desire to earn an honest living.

The importance of factories and companies in communities such as Tongu cannot be overstated. Many of these communities lack the kind of corporate opportunities available in many big cities. For many small communities in rural areas, factories remain the best hope for employing large numbers of people at scale.

Even beyond that, it is an avenue for giving the ordinary man and woman something even more intangible: the dignity of work. The dignity of self-reliance. And eventually, the dignity of self-actualization. Not forgetting alleviating pension poverty.

It remains uncertain what the future holds for Juapong Textiles Company, and along with it the fate and livelihoods of the hardworking men and women of Tongu and beyond. What is clear however is that these men and women do not ask for much. They only ask to be given a fair chance at life. The work of any conscientious government is to facilitate that.

And in the words of Professor Opoku-Agyemang, “that is the work of the next 4 years”.

Columnist: Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid