Fruits play a vital role in the nutrition of every human. Fruits provide various nutrients for the proper functioning of the human body. When we were growing up, we were told that an orange a day keeps the doctor away. The significance of fruits in our health is very popular. In the rural areas where a lot of these fruits are found, inhabitants might not have specific reasons for taking them but at least have an idea that it helps in the growth of the body.
Certain fruits like Kiwi, strawberry, black and blue berries, grapes, pomegranates, peach, plums among others though not grown in Ghana are found in the malls. You surely can guess that the prices are quiet expensive since they have been imported. Despite this some of them have been kept well and hence taste as fresh fruits. This is to help the foreigner to get used to being exposed to their own very kind of fruits outside their countries. The fruits cultivated in Ghana are for personal consumption as well as for sale. Fruits like pineapple. Banana, oranges, mangoes and the likes are exported to other countries like; USA, UAE, China etc.
In Ghana, most of the fruits grown here have various seasons they are expected to be harvested. Sometimes, these fruits have their seasons either passing by a little because of the various changes in climate. There are times these fruit come in season even before the expected time. Usually fruits are less expensive when they are in season. This is so because they are more in supply. The most commonly encountered fruits are orange, pineapple, mango, papaya, melon, coconut, guava banana and imported apples.
These ones are very common and usually readily available throughout the year. Though the availability of it determines the price it would be sold for. This may seem funny but it’s the truth, a lot of Ghanaians do not know some of these fruits have English names, after all even the seller has no idea what it is called in English. Some fruits also available include “alansa” (African star fruit), “aluguntugui” (soursop), Yooyi (Velmet Tamarind), sweet apple, breadfruit, Lemons, Tangerine, water melon and noni fruits. These fruits like I said earlier have times in the year they get to be all over and in abundance. There are times we don’t hear of a bumper harvest because the rains may not have fallen as expected.
A lot of these fruits when in season are seen by venders along the roadside either sitting or hawking. Some people sell the fruits and the consumers take it home, wash and prepare for eating. Most preparation is done by just peeling the skin off. Some other have the preparation services done for you when you buy the fruit. In such instances, the consumer is asked what he or she wants. I would say that most of these fruit sellers get the fruit ready for the consumer in very good conditions especially because the fruit would be exposed. From enquiries, a lot of consumers prefer to have their own fruits prepared by themselves because they have enough water at home to thoroughly wash the fruits. In recent times, some of these vendor look for very cute and nice storage packs, get the fruits peeled up and nicely put in the packs in the form of fruit salad. Such packs contain three to six different kinds of fruits and goes at an affordable price. This is usually available very early in the mornings when one is driving along the busy roads. The only disadvantage with this is that there are times certain consumers might not like one of the fruits that’s been added. A lot of people love to eat their fruit raw while some others turn the fruits into juice. Fresh fruit juice is very good for the human body. Even though most people say that it’s better to eat the fruit in whole, when the juice is fresh its equally the same as eating the fruit and much better than taking the processed fruit which isn’t natural. In recent times, people have taken to patronizing fruits which be used in making smoothies all in the name of detox, weight loss and healthy living.
The challenge with fruit production basically has to do with the large capital that goes into it. A lot of these farmers do not have so much money to invest into their business. This leads to them doing little production with the small money they have. Truth be told, production of certain fruits like pineapple is capital intensive. When the production of fruits is low, then fruit juice makers also face a challenge with getting the right amount for their production. To be able to keep up with demands, they end up importing from neighbouring countries like; Togo and Cote D’Ivoire. This is not good for the development of the industry.
When it comes to the processing of fruit juice in Ghana, there are several companies. These companies are found all over the country. Especially close to where there’s the production of fruits. Some company set farms up by themselves. Proximity matters a lot so you don’t run at loss transporting fruits which may not be able to stand heat and other transportation stress. Some have even stopped production due to one or two challenges like financial constraints and unfavorable climate conditions. Some are still in production though not supplying like they used to but costumers are making do with what’s available.
Companies like; Vineyard exotics, I-Group, Anirad Ventures, Mandis Ltd, Blue Skies Company Ltd, Sunripe Food Processing, Africa Processing, Nkulenu Industries, Multi Pac Ltd, Ayhow Fruit Juice Company Ltd, Kokoby Food Processing Company Ltd, Pinira, Astek Fruit Processing Ltd, Peelco are all producers of fruit juice. They produce orange, pineapple, mango, ginger. Currently in Ghana and most especially, the capital, Blue skies Ghana products are very popular in the capital. They produce fruit juice like; mango juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, pineapple with ginger, orange with pineapple among others.
Usually because these products are made with fresh fruits they have a short shelf life and must be consumed within a particular number of days. Failure to do so and you will lose your money because you won’t be able to drink it.
The current challenge with this business now has to do with the supply of the raw fruits. Like earlier stated, most of the farmers don’t have as much money as they would want to. They end up producing less fruits and these companies do not get as much fruits as they would need to make production go higher. what can be done is that there could be investment into the farming of fruits like banana pineapple, orange among others by the fruit processing companies themselves or other investors who would be ready to put in money to make more fruits available so that at the end of the day, they would harvest enough fruits to seed up production. Also since the climate is not really predictable, irrigation and other effective farming methods could be adopted so in case of any issues related to climate, an alternative would be available. In some instances, the fruit producers are far away from the companies hence the time the fruits would get to the production house, they might have gone too soft and about spoiling.
Fruits are good. they provide the body with vitamins like vitamin C and other nutrients like potassium, dietary fibre, folate among others. Instead of making fruits go waste especially in the rural areas we can put them to use. Companies can be set up around places where some of these fruits are grown. This would make it easy and take away the situation where fruits would go bad before they get to be used. Investing in fruit farming or juice making wouldn’t only put these fruits to use but would also open doors to job opportunities for the unemployed as employment opportunities would come up when the companies start operation.