Getrade - FPS

The annual straw programme 2001/2002

For the third time now, Getrade-FPS has carried out the annual straw programme.

This season it involved the following:

                                    Cost                       Extra Cost               Total Cost

Straw loan               18 Mio. Cedis           3,5 Mio Cedis           21,5 Mio Cedis

Straw donation          5  Mio. Cedis           1,0 Mio Cedis             6,0 Mio Cedis

8000 Cedis = 1 US $ ;   8000 Cedis = 1 Euro ;   26.7.20

The straw purchase  – a full Articulator truck – was done in Kumasi at the cost of 1,500 Cedis per bundle averagely. The extra costs – loaders, carriers, tying rope, storage at the market, night watchmen, transport – were also lower in ratio as during the previous years (only 20 %).

The straw loan is to be used during the lean season, when the straw is scarce (December to March). Abu Sadik, who also monitors and repays the given straw loan of 21,5 Mio Cedis, stores the straw.

A total of 12000 bundles of straw, an amount to produce 4000 average baskets is there for our weavers to use.

For the risk (storage, spoilage, shortage, theft, smaller bundles, accountability) he adds about 11 % to the price of the bundle. So a bundle purchased in Kumasi now at the average cost of 1,500 Cedis (add extra cost of 20 %) is calculated to the weavers at the cost of 2,000 Cedis in December to March. This time of the year the bundle is usually sold between 2500 and 3000 Cedis.

The straw donation is Getrade-FPS annual contribution towards the Bonus of the Society.

With the straw donated to the weavers last year they were able to produce average of 5 baskets each. According to numeric this year’s donation should be sufficient for each weaver to make 7 baskets with free material.

This is helping them in a time where famine is at a close: The last stored foods (millet) are finished, the new harvest not ready yet and a very low volume of orders for baskets to obtain cash income.

So our 224 weavers in Gambigo and 248 weavers in Nyarga have a definite advantage to weave with us.

The team of the village level leaders have received a smok each for their dedicated work.

We are glad that we have carried out this programme for a sustainable development of our weavers in the third year and we had no major draw-back with it.

The week long purchase, transport and distribution and presentation of the straw was handled by 3 members of the FPS Board, with the involvement  of Abu Sadik , our Bolga Basket Organiser and his 8 member team of village leaders.

I – as the Marketing Woman – of the Baskets have to extend my full gratitude to our Board members and the basket leaders for their dedicated involvement in this exercise:

  • To be for hours at Bantama Market and the northern settlements at Race course in Kumasi, surrounded by several straw sellers, big bundles and small bundles and still having the overview of having purchased the correct straw quality (length, dryness, thickness, colour).
  • To even carry the straw whilst supervising loading and on transport to central storage points to reduce theft and extra cost.
  • To negotiate for a fairly cheap Articulator truck to convey the straw to Bolga.
  • To sleep at the Tamale Barrier, as a curfew in a war torn area (a chieftaincy conflict  in the Yendi traditional area of the Dagombas)  has caught us at 9 pm.
  • To offload a full truck within 3 hours and even tow out the truck out of a swampy area.
  • To present and share the straw equally to almost 500 weavers within a day.

A special thanks  goes to the Assembly man at Nyarga, who is not only helping the people to put up a weaving center and a Primary School, but also is actively involved himself in Basket organisation. Despite forthcoming election next Tuesday he was the whole time involved in the straw exercise to see on equal distribution and a valuable use of resources.

We wish him all success for his re-election to continue the good work started.

To complete the whole exercise an informal training is done with the weavers and it involves the following:

  • The creation of 7 new Basket forms and colour schemes.
  • A practical exercise of making one shape (conic basket).
  • Learning by doing on colour schemes (rainbow colours).
  • Introduction of one handle standard (long loop).
  • Time saving measures in straw preparation (long bowl and evt. twisting machine)
  • This exercise is paid by Getrade-FPS, who purchase the Baskets at normal prices and also provide sample allowances.

Rosmarie Boos

Getrade-FPS, Marketing