Akwete weavers decry high production cost, seek Govt empowerment

Akwete Cooperative Plc

HELEN Ebere, President, Akwete Cooperative Plc, in Abia has decried the lack of patronage of Akwete handmade clothes in the country occasioned by high production cost.

Ebere made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Akwete, a town in Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia.

According to her, the cost of weaving a handmade two and a half yards of the Akwete cloth, has now risen to about N25, 000 each.

She noted that in the past, with N10, 000 or less, an interested buyer could procure five yards of the material.

The Akwete weaver pointed out that the high cost of the yarn, which had increased the cost of production, had reduced the marketability of the finished fabric.

”Our clothes unfortunately are not much in demand now, except for few orders, since 2010, as a result of the rise in the cost of our production materials.

”Before then, when there was no incidences of  kidnapping, the Europeans used to come around and bought our clothes a lot.

”Nigerians were also buying our clothes, but now our clothes are sold in very low quantities and mostly to people coming in from Rivers and Lagos States,” she said.

Ebere called for the federal and state governments intervention to reduce the cost of weaving yarn (thread), in a bid to  slash the production cost of the Akwete clothes and increase its marketability.

”The government appears to be interested in sustaining our work and the creativity involved in hand-made Akwete clothe production.

”Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu and the Chairman of our local government has visited us once.

”But after they visited and made promises, they did not do anything.

”Our clothes are not being sold in large quantity now because of the cost of the production which ranges from N10, 000 to N15, 000 to N25, 000 and more and that affects us and our families,” she said.

She said that empowering the producers of the Akwete clothe through  low interest loans and reduction of cost of weaving yarns, would boost the business and help families survive during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic era.

Ebere, who described the fabric as the ‘dream of every fashionable woman’ said the clothes were of high quality and ever trendy for various occasions.

Mazi Christian Uwaezuoke, Secretary to Joint Council of UmuIhueze, Amakam, and Umueze autonomous Communities in Akwete town remarked that only former Gov. Sam Mbakwe’s administration had supported the business.

He said that Mbakwe, who was the governor of the old Imo State (comprising Abia, Ebonyi and Imo) donated funds with which the Akwete Weaving Centre was built.

Uwaezuoke urged governments to come to their aid to preserve that culture and business, that  had put Nigeria on the weaving map of the world.

He said it would be unfortunate for any government wishing to support made-in-Nigeria products, without supporting Akwete clothe. (NAN)

– Jun. 9, 2020 @ 16:45 GMT |

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