Leaders of basket and hats weavers’ associations in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, have been trained on registration of Geographical Indication (GI) as part of efforts to enhance the economic fortunes of the producers.
The training which was via a virtual session was organized by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Justice.
Other participants were shea butter for cosmetic use producers, sugarloaf pineapple producers, and some selected government officials.
Geographical Indication is a sign or name used on products that have a specific geographical origin, and possess qualities owing to that origin.
Geographical indications are generally applied to traditional products, produced by marginal communities over generations, and have gained a reputation at local, national, or international markets due to their specific unique qualities.
Mr. John Akaribo, the Upper East Regional focal person for basket weavers said the training sought to assist participants of each value chain to develop a roadmap that would help them to register their geographical indications.
Mr. Akaribo said registering their geographical indications would improve the protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of producers as well as safeguard clients from substandard goods.
He said hand-woven baskets and hats were originally the idea of Gurune speaking people and were noted for their unique attractive texture and colour.
He said in recent times, some people had introduced into the market, similar products made with machines and modern-day tools.
Mr. Akaribo said the trend was worrisome and required immediate measures to safeguard the market of the industry that served as a source of livelihood for many indigenes of the area.
Speaking on challenges confronting the industry, Mr. Akaribo called on the government to support basket weavers with credit facilities to enhance larger production to satisfy local and foreign demand.