The World Bank, Ghana Office in collaboration with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has organised a smock or “batakari” exhibition fashion show in Accra to celebrate the creativity and uniqueness of northern Ghana.
The show which saw different designers display their unique styles and colours of batakari was also meant to introduce and promote the fabric in the country and beyond.
Mr Kwame Asante, National Programme Coordinator for the Human Security Programme, Northern Ghana at a two-day stakeholder meeting lamented the lack of plans for involving smock weavers in the redesigning and reconstruction of the Tamale market.He said another challenge in the smock industry is lack of raw materials for smock weaving; thus the revitalisation of the cotton industry.
Mr Asante also said lack of capital and credit facilities and lack of training for smock weavers were among the challenges crippling the industry.
He suggested that consultations were needed in order to involve the people in the design, planning, implementation and evaluation of interventions to improve the smock industry.
“It is also pertinent to strengthen the Smock Weavers Association and empower them to engage the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies,” he said.
He also expressed the need for the strengthening of the role of women in the value chain; working on the local dyes and weaving the yarns.
Mr Kofi Tsikata, a Communication Specialist at the World Bank speaking in an interview said, it is unfortunate how such creativity comes from the northern Ghana, yet it is branded as poor.
“We will continue to promote batakari until every Ghanaian know it’s worth and the need to have some in his or her wardrobe,” he said.
He said it is important to observe that the fabric is becoming the Friday wear of Ghanaians and expressed the hope that, the industry would provide jobs and financial assistance to the youth.
Mrs Gyasiwaa Ansah also known as Gbanchibi Wruche, the Queen of Smock said she decided to make her collection colourful because she noticed that Ghanaians have problems with the dull colours of the smock.
She said it is necessary that the youth are given training and capacity building to meet the standard expected of the industry.
She urged the government to build capacity in the north and help market the fabric across the globe to boost the economy of the nation.