|Dr. Wampah, BoG Governor|
The chiefs and people of Agortime traditional area in the Agortime-Ziope district of the Volta region have celebrated their annual Kente Festival (Agbamevorza) in a grand style.
The weeklong festival was climaxed with a grand durbar last weekend under the theme, ‘conserving our cultural heritage’.
The Guest of honour, Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana in an address said the Ghanaian economy has over-relied on unprocessed agricultural products and minerals over the years, hence the paradigm shift towards the non-traditional export sector.
He therefore called on all communities who had similar products like Kente to explore unfolding opportunities by repackaging the kente industry and venture into the international market.
He said the government was committed to removing all obstacles hindering the export sector and that it was important for manufacturers of Kente to take advantage of new opportunities to enhance the industry.
Dr Wampah also asked Ghanaians to patronise more made-in-Ghana products, since their preference for imported goods did not only enhance the economies of foreign countries but also caused a loss in foreign exchange earnings for Ghana.
Mr Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, in his address announced that handicraft villages would be established in the Upper East, Central, Volta and the Eastern regions very soon and that land earmarked for one of such projects at Agotime-Kpetoe should be protected.
He also said the ministry would help to inject necessary innovations in the kente industry to improve on rate of production, adding that efforts would be made to patent Kente as a national asset.
The Volta Regional Minister, Mr Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, said Kente was a matchless indigenous fabric and a very unique trademark that separated Ghanaians from the multitudes of citizens across Africa and the world at large.
He said there was the need to assess the strengths of the industry to generate more employment opportunities for the youth and that the people of the Volta Region must boost and establish their type of Kente as a brand for the region and the nation at large.
The M.P for the area, Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, urged the traditional authorities to release enough land for the establishment of the kente village project and added that they should be prepared to add value to improve their products.
The (Konor) paramount chief of the area Nene Neur Keteku III, in his welcome address said, expressed regret that most contemporary weaving communities no longer paid particular attention to the aesthetic and cultural values of the Kente cloth and urged them to uphold the values.
The event was chaired by the Volta Region representative on the Council of State and Paramount Chief of the Ziope Traditional Area, Togbe Binah Lawluvi VI.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included Togbega Gabusu, paramount chief of Gbi traditional area and former president of the Volta regional House of Chiefs, Mr. Isaac Apronti commissioner of CEPS, and some Municipal and district chief executives as well as some MPs from the region.