The basketweaving industry in Ghana has existed for hundreds of years and if new reports are anything to go by, the women-dominated craft and business is now a multi-million dollar industry.
A feature carried by CNN shows that the Ghanaian basketweaving industry is now a multi-million dollar industry in no small thanks to women like Patience Apambila and others in Bolgatanga or Bolga, in the Upper East region.
Basketweaving is a craft done in all parts of Ghana although the northern and southern regions seem to have the most vibrant businesses.
One of Ghana's biggest Bolga basket exporters, Dominic Abakuri, says the practice of weaving baskets is a traditional skill as old as the community and has been passed on from generations.
This part of our history is thanks to women, especially.
And Patience Apambila is one of about 60,000 women in Bolgatanga, who contribute to this history. They create handwoven Veta Vera grass baskets famously known as Bolga Baskets.
Bolga's soil is not fertile enough for commercial agricultural activities alone. As a result, handwork like pottery and basket weaving are undertaken by women too.
But weaving Bolga baskets is beyond continuing an age long tradition. It is also about creating jobs.
Exporters and local retailers organise these women all year round and pay them to weave the Bolga baskets based on demand.
A lot of women from the community are poor, so, making and selling baskets serve as an additional source of income for them.
Ghana's non-traditional export sector, which basket weaving falls under, contributes about 20% to the country's export trade, says Afua Asabea Asare, CEO of Ghana Export Promotion Authority.
Through Bolga basket exports to key markets such as the UK, US, Australia, and New Zealand, the sector is increasing its sales potential.
Asare added that in 2017 alone, Ghana exported roughly $800,000 or GHC 4 million worth of baskets to the international market.
The hope is that the volume on the trade would only increase in the coming years as more and more investors are attracted to the basketweaving industry.
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