locals strive to save Juapong pillow business
Juapong, a small town in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region, can arguably boasts being the pillow city in Ghana.
A common feature on the main road to Juapong, right from the Adomi Bridge, is a display of assorted puffy pillows.
The pillows are well arranged to attract passers-by or travellers who use the road.
Pillow making is a common business for the people, especially women in the area, and the town has for many years carved an identity of producing good quality pillows.
The business is not only important to the women at Juapong. It is also a good job avenue for some men who act as middlemen to buyers.
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The backbone for this indigenous trade was the establishment of the Volta Star Textile Limited (VSTL) at Juapong and the Akosombo Textile Limited as the local people depended on waste cotton or materials from these factories to produce pillows and mattresses.
The glory days of the business saw traders from Tema, Accra, Kumasi, Koforidua, Tamale and Togo travelling to Juapong to buy pillows in large quantities which enabled the local residents to earn a lot of income to support their families.
Currently, the pillow making business in the area is struggling to thrive due to the low productivity of the Volta Star Textiles Limited (VSTL) at Juapong and the Akosombo Textile Limited where the traders got their raw material.
Some residents who had witnessed the glory days of the industry argue that the once vibrant pillow making town is gradually losing this all-important trade that created jobs, for the youth.
A pillow seller at Juapong, Beatrice Azietor, who has been in the business for more than 10 years, said pillow making was a good venture but “the raw material is now difficult to get, therefore, contributing to our inability to produce more pillows to feed the market”.
“We used to sell for people even outside the country such as Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin but now we have lost all these customers because we can hardly produce enough for our local market”.
She called on the government to revive the textile companies because their benefits were enormous for the socio-economic development of the people, especially in the communities where they were sited.
Despite the challenges and the low production of pillows in the area, Juapong still remains a force to reckon with the pillow making business.
Travellers to Juapong and beyond still have the opportunity to grab at least one or two puffy Juapong pillows at a price of GH¢10 or GH¢12 each from the colourful displays along the road.