Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Future of Ghana Textile Industry Hangs In The Balance

Accra, Ghana (TNBES) It appears that the textile industry in Ghana which was once the heart-beat of Africa is heading for a gloom future with huge disagreements among buyers and sellers on the state of the industry.

Ghana, a one time leader in the textile industry in Africa is now drifting backward with the intervention of new textile technology from other developing countries like China and Togo.

Most sellers at the main Makola Market in Accra see the local industry as been outdated and lacking the technology to cope with advances in other developing countries.

Madam Joyce Mensah of the ALLDERS ENTERPRISE told InWent that Ghanaian and Chinese products are of the same quality and therefore more Ghanaians go for the Chinese products which
are generally cheap.

"Let me tell you something, when I first started selling textiles I was dealing in Ghana made products, but it is very expensive and in some instances I loose thousands of dollars in  the process of selling. The poor Ghanaian farmer lacks the economic might to buy Ghana textile products, therefore they settled down for the cheap ones from China", Madam Mensah told InWent Illumni who were on a research on the
conflict situation in Ghana’s Textile Industry.

The Veteran Ghanaian Textile trader, who has been in the business for more than three decades, also criticized the luxurious lifestyle of managers of the Ghanaian Textile Industry and politicians in control of the country's textile industry.

Madam Mensah alleged that managers in the industry buy vehicles worth thousands of United States Dollars for their personal use, but said these officials refused to bring in  new technological equipments to strengthen the industry's ability to compete in the growing textile industry.

"The politicians and the textile managers are not serious. They buy big-big cars but refuse to import good machines, some of our machines are 50 years old," Madam  Mensah maintained.

Christine Osei, a retail seller at the Makola market also called for a new strategy to revamp the Ghanaian textile industry to compete with other importers of the product.

Questioned on reports that textiles from China are of low qualities, Madam Osei, who is believed to be in her 50s, said the two are of the same quality and value.

Flipping through her textile products, the Ghanaian retailer said most of her fellow citizens prefer China
products since according to her, they are low income earners.
However, there are indications that not all Ghanaians are singing the chorus of the market women as others prefer home-made products over what they called low quality  imports.

Messie Teteh, a regular buyer of textile products says she disagrees with the position expressed by sellers of textile products, pointing to her attires and saying Ghana textile products are of better quality than those imported into the country.

Teteh named Ghanaian wax and fancy as having superior quality over those imported, which according to her are produce in bulk quantities. "Look at this clothes I am wearing, I have been using it for more than three years now and it has not spoiled but if it was a Chinese product by now it is gone," Madam Teteh elaborated as she attempted to strengthen her opposition to criticisms of theGhana Textile Industry.

Another person who stands between the buyer and the seller, Jamila Musah said as a seller and also a buyer, she prefers the Ghana Products given what she term as the quality of the home-made textile. She also refuted claims that those trading in Ghana products are at a disadvantage point.

The disagreement among key stakeholders in the industry appears visible given the open clash of ideas on the way forward. Abraham Koomson, Secretary-General of the Textile, Garment and Leather Union of the Ghana Federation of Labour also told InWent that outsiders are violating basic legal practices in the industry.

Koomson lamented the massive influx of foreign textiles as to having a negative impact on the local market, noting that the country still import over 70 percent of its textiles, recording a loss of over 40 million Ghana Cedis annually.

Investigation conducted by InWent has shown that a big gap in the coordination of the textile industry in what is seemingly West Africa's most stable nation.

Unless all stakeholders (Government, Textile Union and foreign actors) collaborate to help in revamping the once strong sector of the Ghanaian economy, the future might not be good. Vol:2 Issn:174

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