By Kofi Anokye
Growing up at Agona Kwanyako, Central Region of Ghana, my step father, a cocoa farmer would take us to his cocoa farm every Saturday to help with activities in the farm. This experience was one I looked forward to because as a kid, aside learning of cocoa in the classroom, the farming experience made it real to me
The taste of the cocoa fruit though my stepfather intended it to be the icing on the cake ended up becoming the cake itself.
It was a memorable experience that was short lived because I was admitted into to Secondary School and had to go to the boarding house
From that time I hardly came into contact with the processes involved in planting cocoa to it matured stage where it will start bearing fruit.
My love for cocoa began as kid back in school when I learnt about the exploits of TettehQuarhie and how the crop became Ghana export cash-cow.
If there’s any reason why I conceived the idea of being a farmer growing up, it was largely because of cocoa. I knew that cocoa farmers were rich and being one was a sure way to making a lot of money
In spite of so much said and thought about cocoa though, there remain many Ghanaians who have never seen cocoa in reality.
Though life decided to make me a builder, my love for cocoa never changed and cocoa farming still remains the fantasy job for me
Four years ago, I went to the Achimota Forest to buy some trees to plant in my Estate and spotted a small cocoa tree. I asked to buy it but it was given to me for free because I am one of their trusted customers.
Upon my arrival at my Kuntunse office I planted this cocoa right beside my office but my workers told me it was virtually impossible for cocoa to grow there because the land is not fertile enough.
In order to silence them, I said “don’t worry in case it doesn’t survive I don’t lose anything because one cocoa tree doesn’t required much work”
Their doubt encouraged me to prove them wrong so I resolved to do everything humanly possible to get the tree to grow and bear fruit.
After planting it, I watched this ‘my little cocoa tree’ grow rapidly every day. Somewhere last two years, Isaw some flowers growing around the stem but before I realized, all the flowers have gone off it falling apart. At the end of the season, only a pod of the cocoa survived. I plugged it and gave it to my wife.
Early last year, I realized ‘my little cocoa tree’ has gotten so many flowers again, I was advised by some of my critics to spray it if I wanted the flowers to survive and become fruit.
I heeded to their advice and directed them to get me the chemical for spraying cocoas,
As I write this piece, ‘my little cocoa tree’ has over eighty pods around it. Visitors who come to my office will ask me to plug some for them and I do that with joy. I also love to eat the fresh sweet whitish creamy substance inside it likewise my family and children.
Some of the people who discouraged me critics will occasionally come to my office and ask for permission to plug one and eat which I do permit them after reminding them of their criticism with joy!!!
Pondering over the smiles one cocoa tree brought on my face, some questions started boggling my mind and I want to share with whoever chances upon this article
- Is this the extent to which our country is blessed naturally?
- Is the leadership of this country aware of this huge potential in the cocoa and agricuture industry?
- Are Ghanaians really aware of this opportunity or they just are thinking the way I was until I planted my little cocoa tree?
- What can be done by state actors in order to harness this huge potential God has given us?
- Is it possible to tackle illegal mining with agriculture and cocoa production specifically?
- Can we use cocoa to solve the problem of unemployment?
- Why should a country with so fertile a land import food at the primary stage?
- Are we okay?
The questions are endless
As a nation, we need to find answers to these question because I am totally confused as to why we can be so thoughtless and overlook so great a potential, leave our people impoverished when we can make real money through cocoa and agriculture in general.
If what my little cocoa tree is telling me is true and the demand for this out there is very high as I know, then I can conclude that as a nation, we don’t have any reason to complain about lack of foreign exchange coupled with the high unemployment rate unless i don’t know what am talking about.
Ghana is too blessed to be fed with the produce of other less endowed countries.
I recommend this Primary 5 poem by Agnes Esi Mensah
LOOK TO YOURSELF
For all things look to yourself first
You have all things, and you’ll never thirst.
Your land has many things great and good
Rich soils, water and other things.
Do not go to friends cap-in-hand,
Honey and milk flow in your land,
Don’t say, “Grass is green at their feet”
For grass is greener at your feet.
You have got all the richest gifts
Others have not got half your gifts.
Look to yourself, then, and be great!
Use all that you have, and be great.
Life is how you use what you have.
Now how you use what others have.
This is true independence.
Let’s be truly independent.
If kids in class five are brought to the knowledge of self-dependence, then we the older generation should definitely exemplify this with our actions and our country will be great.
By: Kofi Anokye
CEO, Koans Building Solutions