Stakeholders in the Upper East Region have called on the Government to support the growth of the basket-weaving industry in the Region to help improve upon the livelihoods of the people.
The stakeholders, including traders within the export product supply systems, made the appeal in an interview with the GNA on the sidelines of the Ghana Export Authority (GEPA) School programme in Bolgatanga on Friday.
They said the majority of women in the region were engaged in the basket weaving industry and that if supported properly it could help improve the livelihoods of many homes.
The School which was organized by GEPA, was aimed at addressing the international trade- training needs of the export commodity, agencies supporting export trade development, business and personnel within the export supply system.
Madam Vida Boyubie, Programme Manager of Trade Aid Integrated, stated that the areas government could help included product development of the basket industry to meet international standards so as to attract good foreign exchange for the people in the region, particularly women.
She said government could do this by engaging organizations that had the fullest potentials in training the weavers in very good product development, adding government could also play a leading role by negotiating with banks to make their lending rates more flexible for people engaged in the industry.
She noted that another major challenge confronting the industry was the lack of raw materials in the region which compelled many of the weavers to travel to the southern parts of the country to purchase material.
The participants stated that the straw which is the raw material for the basket industry used to grow well in the region which made it easier for basket production, and said they could be supported to cultivate the raw materials in the valleys and river banks.
?If government pays very important attention to the basket industry, not only will it help address the poverty situation here but will also help create more jobs?, the stakeholders said.
Mr Peter Obeng, Director of GEPA in charge of Product Development Division explained that one of the main reasons for the programme was to provide technical capacity building for the exporters to empower them to know the global trends in terms of regulations, market size and market requirements so that they could cope with the system and the anticipated changes in the global market.
He said it would also equip them to strategize very well with their competitors particularly in the area of pricing, quality and frequency.
Mr Martin Akogti, Zonal Officer of GEPA entreated the participants to take advantage of what they had learned from the training, particularly in the areas of export marketing, standards and export certification, food safety and hygiene, and to also explore the opportunities disclosed to them.