By Nana Asare Barimah.
Coffin makers in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region say they are gradually being pushed out of business by some Burkinabes.
According to them access to wood for producing coffins are increasingly becoming a challenge as the Burkinabes have been paying wood processors in Ghana higher prices for rough cut lumber.
In view of that, the coffin makers say wood processors, particularly those in Kumasi, prefer to sell their products to the Burkinabes who now enjoy preferential treatment on the domestic wood market.
About 200 coffin makers at the Kumasi Asafo Labour enclave say the situation has forced some of their people to move out to settle in other parts of the metropolis, noting patronage of coffin making is not brisk as it used to be in times past.
Chairman of the Coffin Makers Association, Kwabena Sarpong, told 3news.com that if the situation is not checked, woodworkers in the country will soon be thrown out of business.
“Access to the wood is a major factor affecting the progress of our business. When you go to Sokoban Wood Village you can see piled wood all bought by Burkinabes because they have money and buy the lumber at higher prices,” he stated.
According to him, “the wood sellers are always eager to sell to them to the Burkinabes and this is affecting us”, he lamented.
On how much a coffin cost, Kwabena Sarpong told 3news.com, the price depends on the type of wood and the decorative materials used.
Cost of a coffin is determined by the type of wood and materials used
“As for the coffins we sell them from 400 to 4000 cedis. When you want a coffin we ask the type of wood and design so that will determine the price but at least with 400 cedis you will get a coffin from us,” he stated.
Meanwhile, they are appealing to the government to assist them with a permanent location to ply their trade.
“Where we are currently working is not conducive for us to even train more youth because of lack of space. If the government can assist us like it assisted the woodworkers at Anloga Junction and relocated all of them to Sokoban Wood Village we will be grateful,” Mr Sarpong appealed.
He said they have identified a parcel of land at Kaase and with government assistance they can secure it at a permanent enclave for all coffin producers in Asafo and other parts of the metropolis.