Coffin and casket manufacturers at Asafo in Kumasi are lamenting the high cost of raw materials.
The producers say they are frustrated over the high prices of significant materials like fillers, nails, pine, saw and fabrics to line coffins.
The extra expenditure on production is pushing the manufacturers to increase the prices of caskets in order to stay in business.
With inflation rising high, coupled with fuel and utility tariff increases, local businesses are on the brink of collapse.
Agya Appiah, who has about 30 years of experience in the production of caskets and coffins, says he is compelled to increase the prices of his products.
“I was an apprentice in 1992, but now I run my own business. The fabric we use to decorate the casket I bought for ¢200 on Friday, I was told today to pay ¢240. I couldn’t buy it, so I had to come home to solicit the remaining amount.
“Things are expensive, I would also not sell them [caskets] at a reduced price. All manufacturers here have come to a consensus to increase and stick to one price, latest by next week,” he said.
This casket is called ‘Abenwaha’, with a price range of ¢1,500 to ¢2,000. But now, If I don’t sell it at ¢2,800, I may not be able to accrue my profit,” he added.
Kwame Malvin, who has been in the business for 3 years, says patrons are complaining about the new prices.
“Our work has been affected. I used to buy this filler at ¢80, currently, I buy it at ¢230. I used to finish two coffins a day. Buyers keep complaining because we scare them with the pricing.
Starting next week, the prices of coffins will increase. The ¢1,000-priced coffins will be sold at ¢1,500. The ¢800-priced coffins would be sold at ¢1000,” he said.
Other producers like Akwasi Amoako Yeboah, who has been in the casket manufacturing business for 25 years, say he is recording low patronage due to the new prices.
He has called for the government’s support and intervention, especially in respect of access to wood.
People come from Burkina Faso to purchase our wood because we are unable to buy them ourselves. With the high increase in materials, we have also increased our goods and it is affecting patronage.
“People hardly come around to purchase coffins. We need government to do something about it. This is very sad,” he said.