In a resolute stand against the encroachment of Chinese counterfeit products threatening their businesses, Ogun’s Adire/Kampala traders have staged a peaceful protest, calling for urgent action to safeguard their livelihoods.
Led by their concerns, the traders turned to the revered palace of the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, seeking his intervention and support.
The heart of the matter lies in the disconcerting replication of their authentic designs by Chinese manufacturers, who then flood the market with low-cost imitation cloth materials.
This influx of counterfeit Adire/Kampala products undercuts the genuine, indigenous items and has stirred unrest within the traders’ community.
Amidst the peaceful demonstration, the traders conveyed their grievances before the king, highlighting the adverse effects of the Chinese counterfeit products.
These replicas not only divert customers away from the indigenous products but also erode the unique cultural and economic value they hold.
Speaking on behalf of the Adire/Kampala traders, Alhaja Sadist Akamo, the iya oloja of Kemta Adire market, addressed the king with a plea for help, “Kibiyesi, please help us and do something.
This fake product is taking away our property, our name, our culture. It threatens our indigenous product’s glory.”
Responding empathetically, Oba Gbadebo proposed a strategic approach to address the problem.
He suggested that representatives should be dispatched to the Lekki free trade zone, reportedly the source of the counterfeit products, to ascertain their origin—whether they are produced there or imported.
The king urged, “Go and look for where China are producing the cloths. If it is done here, you will have to double your efforts on the way you produce your cloths, so that you will be able to beat their own.
But if it is being imported, we will inform the customs to pack all their products.”
Oba Gbadebo concluded by encouraging the traders to gather accurate information about the source of production, which will enable appropriate measures to be taken to combat the counterfeit influx effectively.
Speaking to reporters after their meeting with the king, Ogunfidodo Michael, the baba Alaje of Kemta Adire Market, highlighted the significance of the protest as a way to advocate for the awareness of the detrimental effects of synthetic materials masquerading as genuine Adire.
Acknowledging the king’s unwavering commitment, he expressed optimism in the resolution of the issue, stating, “Kabiyesi has unequivocally affirmed the cessation of this practice.
We’ve communicated with those engaged in it, providing them a timeframe to sell their existing stock.
If compliance is not met, I believe a comprehensive resolution involving elimination and eradication is necessary.”
Furthermore, Ogunfidodo Michael called upon the government to protect local industries by taking decisive measures to curb piracy and promote indigenous textiles.
The traders’ peaceful protest signals a unified front against the influx of counterfeit products, highlighting their determination to preserve their cultural heritage and economic sustenance.
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