Daboya, located some 67kilometres northwest of Tamale may not be a major household in Ghana today, mostly due to the growth of commercial cities like Tamale and Wa in the northern part of Ghana. However, over a century ago, Daboya was probably the most popular town in the Northern region famous for its mass production of salt and vibrant commercial activities
Over a half of the salt consumption of Ghana in the 1700s and 1800s was supplied by Daboya as a majority of the women and men in the town were engaged in the salt mining business, making it one of the most active and commercially vibrant towns in Ghana
Today, Daboya can no longer be regarded as the salt hub of Ghana. While salt is still mined and produced in the ancient town, it is in lesser quantity compared to centuries ago, and the salt production today is only meant for the local market and consumption.
The collapse of the Daboya salt market could be attributed to the desire for iodized and refined salt in the latter part of the 21st century. The change in preference of Ghanaians resulted in the importation of granulated and refined salt from Europe, killing off the Daboya salt market which supplied unrefined salt in its natural state.
This has, however, has not stopped people from paying a visit to the town to see the salt mining centres that once made Daboya a hugely successful commercial city in Ghana and West Africa.
The gradual decline of the salt business in Daboya gave way to another craft in the form of fabric weaving. Today, the town of Daboya is more famous for its hand-woven traditional smocks than its production of salt. In fact, a majority of the fine handwoven smocks worn in the Northern region are produced in Daboya.
While the town is not the most visited in terms of tourism, Daboya has the potential to become a major tourist destination in Ghana considering its rich and storied history, coupled with historical sites such as salt mines and had woven fabric centres. Daboya may be on the brink of being forgotten, but its rich history is not lost.
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