Smock weavers in Bolgatanga have appealed to government to promote and project the local smock industry to attract global market.
The weavers said smock weaving, apart from being a trade that young people could venture into, had a great potential to create employment for the youth.
They urged government to devise modalities particularly, access to market that would expose the indigenous smocks to the global world to create both national and international markets for the smock industry.
The weavers made the appeal through Madam Paulina Patience Abayage, the Upper East Regional Minister, when she paid a working visit to the Smock Market at the Bolgatanga New Central Market.
The visit was part of efforts being advanced by the minister to promote the local industry in the region to create employment, especially for the teaming unemployed youth as part of plans to reduce poverty.
Smock weaving as an economic vocation and non- traditional export in the Upper East Region, and is one of the major sources of livelihood for many communities. However, the weavers are confronted with surmountable challenges and need a little push.
Mr Ibrahim Bukari, the leader of the Bolgatanga Youth Smock Weavers Association, said the region produces quality smocks, which are being patronised locally and internationally and said the weavers experienced difficulty getting easy access to inputs such as the thread to enhance quality weaving.
He said patronage for the smocks have also reduced owing to the lack of proper exposure and marketing mechanisms for the products, leading to reduction in production rate.
He reiterated his appeal to government to devise ways that would create opportunities for smock weavers in the region to attend international exhibitions to showcase the local smocks.
This, Mr Bukari said, would attract high patronage and increase production, create more employment for people in the rural communities and thereby reduce poverty among the people in the region.
He also appealed to government to support the industry with industrial sewing machines, called ‘Singer 20 U’ to enable master smock tradesmen train more youth and expand the industry.
Madam Abayage said the region was the hub of handicrafts, and the smock industry was one of the very vibrant industries producing quality products and providing lots of employment to the people in the region.
The minister pledged to work closely with the leaders in the smock industry and other major stakeholders and development partners to project the quality smocks produced in the region to attract more customers.
She revealed that a group of Japanese have expressed interest in the Bolgatanga basket and were going to invest into that sector by adding value to the baskets being produced in the region for international export.
She said she had suggested to the investors to consider extending the support to the smock weaving industry to boost the sector.