A Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Operations & Finance Director at the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Mr Samuel Dentu, has urged handicrafts workers / artisans in Ghana to go the extra mile to produce usable products for the market.
He said that GEPA had plans to give them more training in their field so that they could produce more useable items such as plates and bowls and to also meet the world demand.
“We are going to bring in people who will show them how to do more functional products. If you are doing artifacts or things that are decorative, how can you make it more functional? People are doing decorative things but making it like a storage unit and others are also using wood to do things like plates that are organic,” he said in an interview when GEPA presented sanitation and hygiene items to artisans at three craft villages in Accra on June 11, 2020.
They include the Accra Arts Centre, Tetteh Quarshie and Aburi Craft Village.
COVID-19 and crafts
Mr Dentu described as unfortunate the effect of the corona virus (COVID-19) disease on the crafts sector and urged them to use the period to evaluate how they could reform their businesses to also tap into the new normal that technology offers.
“Work extra and rethink of new markets and marketing your wares through social media. Use every available opportunity to build your capacities so that post-COVID we all will emerge stronger,” he advised.
Post COVID, he said the authority would continue to work with them while giving a major facelift to the places where they work.
He said the arts and crafts sector, including textiles, was a major part of the new 10-year National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) developed by the GEPA and awaiting implementation.
“Post COVID we will go back to that document once it has received cabinet approval and start implementing. They play a major role in the implementation of that document and so we will continue to collaborate with them,” he said.
Support to the centre
The GEPA support for the three centres was to aid in the fight against COVID-19. The items presented included 3,000 bottles of alcohol based sanitisers, 3,300 face masks, 50 Veronica buckets complete with water basins, liquid soap, disposable tissue and trash bins.
Mr Dentu explained that the support was to help the handicraft export communities fight against COVID-19 and reduce its spread.
“The people who work at the arts centres are major stakeholders of the exports and as we know the COVID-19 disease is on the rise and so, we want to help them keep safe.
“Also due to the nature of their work, many people visit the centres so we deemed it necessary as stakeholders to encourage them to use sanitisers and face masks,” he said.
He cautioned them to make good use of the safety items presented by observing outlined safety protocols – wearing of nose masks, physical distancing, washing hands with soap under running water and using alcohol-based sanitisers, as their health was paramount.
The Vice President of the National Association of Handicraft Exporters (NAHE), Ms Fulera Seidu, thanked the GEPA for the act of kindness.
She said the timing was perfect and lauded GEPA for its continuous support to them.