Marketing of non-traditional export products- a case study of handicraft products in Ashanti Region

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Trade has been a major engine of growth in the industrial countries and the middle-income developing countries and extensive studies have consistently shown that export growth is linked to economic growth. However, there is growing empirical evidence that improved trade performance is closely associated with increased employment opportunities and income earning potential for the poorer. Ghana has depended exclusively for its foreign exchange earnings in traditional products like cocoa, timber, gold and other minerals and electricity. Continues depreciation of world market prices for these products have compelled Ghana to diversify her export to include non-traditional exports. From a meager US $1 .9m in 1984 non-traditional exports has grown to US$404m in the year 1999. It is against the background of improving Ghana’s trade with other countries that this study was carried out to unearth the marketing constraints in the handicraft sub-sector of non-traditional exports. The handicraft sub-sector of the non-traditional exports was studied primarily because the sector has enormous potential to contribute to Ghana’s economic development, but handicraft has not gain considerably export market entry. The thesis therefore assessed the export performance of the handicraft products in Ghana, identified international marketing constraints, assessed existing marketing strategies and developed a comprehensive international marketing strategy for Ghanaian handicraft. Out of the total craft product portfolio of eleven, three (i.e. Kente, Wood Carvings and Beads) were selected for the study because there exist, to a large extent, a strong representation of product classification like wood, textile and products whose process involve firing. Random sample size of 54 exporters of handicraft was chosen. Each of the exporters selected was visited and data collected through administration of questionnaire, interview and personal field observation. This thesis was divided into five main chapters. The thesis revealed that, Ghana like other developing countries have attached importance to handicrafts but the export potential is affected by insufficient reliable statistics, inadequate holistic systems which integrates the provision of business practices and deplorable infrastructure support to facilitate successful exports. The thesis recommended that there should be extensive training in Business Management for handicraft exporters. in addition , Trade Promotion Offices both private and public should coordinate their activities in a way to achieve concerted national goal. Furthermore, product and market development programmes should be improved in the handicraft sector. Financial resource, targeting handicraft sector should be export development friendly. Collaborative Scheme for the establishment of infrastructure at Handicraft Producing Centers by the communities was recommended.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree in Industrial Management, 2001