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Fair Trade Bolga Baskets

Quality Bolga baskets from the Baba Tree Basket Company

Our high quality, fairly traded baskets are handwoven by the artisan weavers of the Baba Tree Basket Company in Bolgatanga, northern Ghana. They're functional, durable, long lasting and above all beautiful.

Every basket is individually picked, inspected and tested for:

  • Strength
  • Quality of weave
  • Neatness of finish
  • Colour and design

Baba Tree weavers are by far the highest paid in Bolga. This means that we - and you - get only the very best quality baskets.

We make at least one trip per year to Bolga. We spend many pleasant hours with the weavers and many challenging hours picking the very best baskets for our shipment.

Aniahmame Ahugre weaving the rim of a Jemima 10 Cows basket: Bolgatanga, Ghana

More about the Baba Tree Basket Company

When we're in Bolga, we hang out with our great friend Gregory MacCarthy, founder of the Baba Tree Basket Company.

Greg has lived in Bolgatanga and worked to improve the basket industry there since 2005. Back then, every morning and evening weavers would walk or cycle to Greg's compound with their baskets, where Greg would meticulously pick only the very best baskets for his fledgeling business.

A sense of community

Today, up to a hundred people congregate every morning at the Baba Tree. The atmosphere is fantastic: lots of music and joking and bantering - a real sense of community.

Young and old. Men and women, many with their preschool children. They come to work and earn. Most are weavers, but there are other opportunities as well.

Azure and Ayine have been with Greg since they were small boys weeding the garden. Today they employ IT skills to fill and ship orders around the world. Leather workers put handles on baskets. Seamstresses line baby baskets with African fabrics. Others tend the garden, build composting toilets and keep the compound tidy. When floods destroyed the road, Baba Tree employees rebuilt it by hand because the local authority would not. And so it goes on.

Improving design, colour and quality

Of the many thousands of baskets woven and exported from Bolgatanga every year, Baba Tree baskets are the most expensive. So why do we choose Baba Tree baskets over cheaper alternatives?

  • Innovative designs. Baba Tree weavers are constantly innovating - creating new and exciting basket shapes and weaving patterns.
  • Marvellous colours. Through years of experience and training, Baba Tree weavers combine colours that look great in a 'western' context, not just in the local market.
  • Consistant quality. These baskets last many years and can be reshaped over and over.
  • Baba Tree weavers are paid more for their baskets.

We're selling excellence, not poverty

Greg pays Baba Tree weavers top dollar for their creative work. He'd love to pay them even more, but it's an uphill struggle. In a nutshell, that's the perpetual conudrum of operating an ethical business.

Whether it's baskets or fabrics or beads, many consumers around the world ask with the best intention, 'Is it fair trade?' Then those same consumers balk at paying the price and demand a bargain.

Greg says it best: Don't buy a Baba Tree basket because you feel sorry for the poor weaver who made it. Buy it because it's an excellent basket that will last many years and make you happy.

Read more about the weavers of the Baba Tree Basket Company: www.babatree.com

Greg MacCarthy of the Baba Tree Basket Company in BolgatangaGreg MacCarthy of the Baba Tree Basket Company in Bolgatanga

 

Olu sorting pot baskets in the Baba Tree compound

 

There's always time for a laugh at the Baba Tree
 
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