Local dress producers suffocate due to COVID-19

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Patronage of locally manufactured dresses take a nosedive mainly due to the impact of COVID-19 on the fashion industry, Ghana News Agency survey at Tema has established.

A random survey conducted by GNA at Tema among dealers in the traditional fashion industry, local food vendors, traders, dealers in art and craft, and customers established that the industry was facing challenges and needs stimulus package.

The survey established that “while seamstresses are wailing, tailors are sobbing, dealers in traditional artifacts are lamenting to paint a picture of an industry in reverse gear”.

Madam Serwaa Ampofo, local fashion dealer told the GNA at Tema that COVID-19 was not only harmful health-wise, but the negative economic impact was also devastating, “COVID-19 is killing our businesses too”.

Madam Ampofo who compared the pre-COVID-19 era to this new normal era and described it as unfortunate, “we are in hard times, in the past the month of March which has been branded as ‘Heritage Month’ was an eventful period in terms of business.

“People buy traditional dresses to mark the month, some workers want to go to the office in local garment, while some educational institutions also brand their students in local costume for performance on Independence Day and African Union Day”.

Madam Ampofo said due to the ban on social events, people especially ladies don’t want to change their wardrobe, most of these people prefer local dresses to attend traditional marriages, puberty rites, and other special national occasions.

“Now we are celebrating national events in our bedrooms, how do you change your wardrobe? Where would you go with the new attire, the entertainment industry is dead, churches used to be our saviour but now people are becoming moderate,” she lamented.

Mr. Mohammed Seidu a trader at Community One also attributed the travel restrictions as another major blow to the traditional fashion industry.

He explained that the foreigners served as major customers of the traditional fashion industry, “but now you cannot travel so easily – no conferences, no major events to attract others from oversees, everything is at a standstill because of COVID-19 pandemic”.

Meanwhile scores of Ghanaians in Tema Community One also complained that locally produced food was expensive as compared to continental dishes a situation they classified as ‘killing’ patronage of indigenous food.

Madam Mary Asabea a civil servant said there had been several promotions for the patronage of local products but sometimes the prices of these local foods and products put customers off.

She said “if you compare the price of dried herrings to that of frozen imported chicken, the latter is less expensive than the former produced here in Ghana”.

Madam Juliana Asantewaa, public officials compared the price of local to imported rice and concluded that the prices of local rice were higher than the imported ones.

Others also attributed the high cost of local products to the interferences in the value chain from the farm gate to the final consumer, to the role of middle-men, market queens who control the market and cost of production in general.


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