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Production, sale of Ayowa, thriving business in Tanoso

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah & Biiya Mukusah Ali
A producer, Mr Kwasi Morrison, moulding an ayowa
A producer, Mr Kwasi Morrison, moulding an ayowa

The production and the sale of locally manufactured earthenware bowls, popularly known as ‘Ayowa’ (made from clay), has remained popular and lucrative business for the people of Tanoso in the Tano North District of the newly created Ahafo Region.

Tanoso, which derives its name from the Tano River, is well known for its clay deposits and residents have for years cashed in with the production of earthenware bowls to earn a living for themselves.

The beautiful bowls, which come in colours of black and light brown, are manufactured in five different sizes, with their prices ranging from GH¢1 to GH¢20.

Besides being used to serve food, vegetables are also ground in the ‘ayowa.’

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 Some of the earthenware bowls ready for sale

Moulding

According to one of the manufacturers, Mr Morrison Kwasi, it takes about four years training to perfect the art of moulding the earthenware bowls.

After moulding, the bowls are put in the sun for days to dry before they are wood fired in a kiln and then allowed to cool.

The sellers, most of whom are women, buy their products from the numerous small-scale producers, who are mostly men.

Many of them display the attractive earthenware along the Sunyani-Kumasi road to wait for prospective buyers.

Sales and distribution

People from all parts of Ghana travel to Tanoso to buy these traditional bowls in large quantities for sale.

Traditional chop bar owners are also regular customers.

According to the sellers, they make appreciable sales on Saturdays and Sundays when people travel to the town and nearby communities to attend funerals, weddings, naming ceremonies and other social functions.

Sandra Birago, 30, one of the sellers, said: “This is a family business that was handed over to me by my parents and grandparents.

“It has helped me to take care of my children,” another seller, Philomena Ntriwaa, 25, stated.

Even though the producers and sellers of the earthenware bowl are facing stiff competition from the importation of modern bowls from foreign countries, some of them say “the tradition goes on since most Ghanaians, no matter their academic or social status, will always go for the proverbial ‘ayowa.’