Exchange Rate: Iseyin Aso-Ofi Weavers, Marketers’ Strike Enters Two Weeks
The strike embarked upon by the traditional Aso-Ofi weavers and marketers in Iseyin, Iseyin local government over the cost of weaving materials has entered the second week with no end in sight.
The weavers informed The Chronicler Newspaper on Wednesday that the cost of producing a pack of Aso-Ofi is not equal to the cost of procuring the materials, especially the industrial yarn that is produced in Nigeria and abroad.
Hakeem Balogun who is a marketer of the ancient clothing material said the weaving industry, which has its historical base at Iseyin is facing crisis and seventy percent of young adults that rely on the industry, apart from farming known with the community, are experiencing hunger due to inability to break even in the business.
Balogun said “our people are suffering, those weaving for survival and those marketing are at the mercy of weaving material sellers who also have to face the manufacturing companies that are battling with poor exchange rates.
”We have got to the point that we have to down tools as we cannot break even and we have families to feed.”
When contacted, the foremost weaving materials seller in Iseyin, Alhaji Fatai Folorunso Belerebe told The Chronicler Newspaper that the materials sellers have no control over the price, as they sell based on the effects of exchange rate at the open and black market.
He said he has has several discussions with the leadership of Aso-Ofi marketers, making them realize that the national crises of rise in dollar value against naira was the cause of the crisis and unless there is a significant drop in the rise of dollar against dollar, the problem might persist.
”We also heard that they have been on strike as we all cannot find local solutions to the problem, we can only pray that this period passes, it is a problem that affects us all.
”You can imagine the only company remaining that is producing the weaving materials after others have folded up will call us in hourly frequency as the dollar rises against naira, saying the product price has risen again, what do we do?”
Hakeem Balogun and Alhaji Fatai appealed to the federal government to intervene on the matter so that the teeming young adults that took Aso Ofi weaving as work would not resort to crime.