The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has said the emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic has presented an opportunity for stakeholders in the Non-Traditional Exports value chain to be creative and innovative, to increase demand.
GEPA advised industry players to undertake a careful study of dynamics of the market as well as new ideas that would improve the quality of their products and strengthen their business capacities, to penetrate both local and international markets, especially after the pandemic.
Albert Kassim Diwura, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Human Resource and Administration, GEPA, made the call when GEPA presented Personal Protective Equipment and hygiene materials to the Upper East Regional Arts and Craft Village in Bolgatanga.
The preventive items which include four ‘Veronica buckets” together with stands, water basins and dustbins, liquid soap, tissue paper, 150 alcohol-based hand sanitizer as well as 150 pieces of nose masks, are to help members curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
The Deputy CEO stated that the leadership of GEPA shared in the pain of producers and exporters of the Non-Traditional Exports especially dealers in the straw basket sector in the era of COVID-19 as most of their markets were foreign.
He said the government was committed to realizing its vision of industrializing the economy through various key policies and GEPA was working hard to support various sectors to contribute to achieving that agenda.
He said GEPA had already introduced and implemented various interventions in the Cashew, pineapple, coconut, and vegetable production chain, including effectively collaborating with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to enable vegetable farmers to export their produce.
The Deputy CEO noted that GEPA would continue to play its promotional and collaborative role and added that it had put together most of the exporters and presented a letter to the National Board for Small Scale Industries to ensure that the exporters benefitted from the government stimulus package.
He, therefore, encouraged actors in the art and craft sector to think of creative ways and ideas that would be implemented after the pandemic, to attract and sustain markets.
Coleman Atubilla, the Secretary, Bolgatanga Baskets Producers, and Exporters Association, on behalf of his colleagues, expressed gratitude to GEPA for the kind gesture and working to ensure that their businesses survived.
The Secretary stated that since the outbreak of COVID-19 their businesses had stalled as their orders which usually came from foreign countries were cancelled and the situation had put a huge burden on the lives and livelihoods of the rural women engaged in the weaving process.
Mr. Atubilla stated that all the exporters in the region had applied for the stimulus package and appealed to the leadership of GEPA to assist them to acquire the support to revive their businesses.