Adverse effects of the Kente industry
Irrespective of the numerous job avenues created through the wood craft and kente weaving activities, the industries were somehow detrimental to other aspects of the respective communities’.
Firstly, the ease with which people could enter into the industry lured numerous young ones into early economic maturity by engaging in one or more of these economic activities. Athough one may argue that a significant number of adults successfully transitioned into the venture, the situation does not permit a normal human development pattern among some of the youth in the community. Without much consideration with regards to their future possibilities, they quickly indulge in the craft industry. This situation was largely attributed to high incidence of poverty among some households which forced their young ones into fending for themselves. The District Assembly thus recognizes that,
“….poverty situation of the people has compelled children to engage in some commercial activities such as iced- water selling, numerous activities related to the kente and adinkra production, wood carving, driver’s mates and while others move to Kumasi to do some hawking” (Kwabre East District, 2010, p. 39).
To some extent, the presence of the activities therefore served as destruction to holistic human development.
Moreover, although vast land was available for crop farming at Adanwomase, the majority (about 53.3%) of the residents, especially the male, preferred to work as weavers and traders in the weaving industry instead of farming. In this regard, farming was left mostly to older women as the young women also endeared working in the weaving industry. The majority of those involved in the craft industry attributed their choice to the fact that, the weaving industry fetched more income as compared to crop farming which was the main alternative economic activity in the community.
“…my extended family has numerous farming lands around the village. I could farm if I wanted to but in the end one gets almost nothing out of it. I cannot fend for my family only through farming….the weaving does not generate much income but I think it is better than farming….My wife supplements my income with her subsistence crop farming” (Kyei, 46 year old weaver)
The worrying side of this occurrence was the fact that, for a community that is typically expected to be agrarian, some basic food stuffs were brought onto their market from nearby communities. This therefore led to higher prices of food stuffs. However, in line with the assertion of Kreag (2001, p. 7) that tourism creates “a significant number of low-paying jobs which are often seasonal, causing underemployment or unemployment during off-seasons…”, the seasonality of market for the kente cloth and the wood crafts, had persuaded some of the artisans to engage in alternative livelihood activities. At Adanwomase, some of the older weavers were involved in plantation farming of crops such as palm tree and cocoa which were gradually taking over their arable lands.