Strong Straw Basket Dealers and Exporter Foundation have called on the government to enact a legal document to will regulate the sector to boost growth and prevent foreign intrusion. The basket business is the main viable economic venture of the people in the region however of late individuals mostly foreigners who are not associated with any basket dealers or export organization are trooping into the market to buy the baskets directly from the weavers without any regulations or restriction. The phenomenon, they say is affecting the progress of the business and their livelihood is being taken over by foreigners.

The Chairman of Strong Straw Basket Dealers and Exporters Association Ayezeriba Agana who made the call at the official launch of the association at Craft Village in Bolgatanga says the sector employs over thousand people mostly women and the youth and therefore pragmatic measures needs to be taken to protect their business. The Bolgatanga Basket has attracted far more foreign exchange into the country than any other product from the North. Unfortunately, this unique and exclusive product from the north has not received the necessary attention that it deserves from authorities and the industry is largely unregulated.

There have been numerous complaint of fraud from foreign buyers of Straw Baskets from the Upper East to the effect that people have received monies from them with promise of supplying baskets which they never got while others complained of poor quality of baskets from imposter who are not recognized by the association causing foreign buyers to lose interest in the Bolgatanga Baskets.  The Association Chairman Ayezeriba Agana indicated that the association is seeking the endorsement and support of stakeholders especially local government authorities to apply all laws aimed at protecting and promoting the local businesses that will help Assemblies to collect the needed taxes on all baskets.

In a speech read on her behalf the Upper East Regional Minister Madam Tangoba Abayege urged the dealers, producers and exporters in the Basket sector to collaborate with stakeholders such as Ghana Export Promotion Authority GEPA, Ghana Tourism Authority and the National Board for Small Scale industries to improve on the quality and address challenges confronting the industries. For his part the Upper East and Upper West Zonal Coordinator of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority Martin Akogti observed baskets is one of the non-traditional exports contributing immensely to the growth of the economy saying efforts should be made to protect the businesses for the local people.

The Basket can easily be referred to as the Cocoa of the Upper East Region due to the critical role the production and sale has had on the people. Sadly because the industry has not received the needed attention neighboring countries like Burkina Faso buys the Baskets from Bolgatanga send them to their country to label them and export them as Burkina Baskets. In much the same way Asian countries like Vietnam produce a replica of Bolgatanga Baskets and call them Vietnam Basket. The strong Baskets Dealers and Export is therefore calling on authorities to pay attention to the industry.

Apexnewsgh.com/Ghana/ Contributor Prosper Adaakai

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