Diasporian News of Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Source: Ghana Mission, New York

Ghana's handicrafts get major demand at New York Exhibition

Twelve key craft export companies from Ghana are participating in this year’s Summer Artisan Resource in New York as part of measures to re-establish the country’s handicraft on the United States market.

The market incubator event, which is the fifth and largest since its launch in 2012 has attracted more than 120 companies from 30 countries. It has offered a professional sourcing avenue for them to present their handicraft export product collections and custom artisan production capabilities at export terms.

On display at Ghana’s Pavillions are interesting high quality wooden accent furniture, wooden bowls, brass candle stands, umbrella stands decorative animals, fashion accessories, home textiles, straw baskets, musical instruments and wood carvings.

Also on show are ceramic candle vases, bowls, plates, stools, vases, wall scones, cow bone and hard wooden jewelries, small furniture pieces with African accents, West African fabric and leather handbags, baggage cases, beautifully crafted lazy chairs, masks and aluminium statutes.

Ghana’s side at the programme has so far attracted major buyers and visitors, who have expressed interest in large orders of the various handmade export products and collections.

At one of the capacity enhancement seminars organized as part of the programme, a major buyer and an expert in the industry remarked that Ghana has the people and materials to produce but lacked the technology and design innovation to produce in large volumes.

To this end, she stressed the need for Ghanaian handicraft producers to be innovative by making new designs and increase their production capacity to meet the large orders from the international market.

Mr. Gideon Quarcoo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and leader of the Ghanaian delegation said the event had reinforced the need for the major handicraft producers to work more closely with GEPA on programmes to turn the industry around.

He expressed optimism that Ghanaian handicraft producers could meet the desired goals by being innovative technologically, coming out with new attractive designs and to meet the large demands from the major buyers. Particularly, Mr. Quarcoo talked about the need for technology for production and drying their wood.

Commenting on the programme in various discussions, the Ghanaian participants described it as a learning experience, which had exposed them to current trends on the market.

They were confident of meeting the high orders from the major buyers with some urgent interventions and technological know-how.

The participants expressed the need for a continuous feedback and permanent presence at the Ghana Mission in New York where some of their products could be displayed for people to see their handicrafts.

The three main craft export associations exhibiting at the Ghana stand are from The National Association of Handicraft Exporters (NAHE), The ATAG Craft Network Association of Ghana and the Newkraft Group.