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HISTORY OF COCOA IN GHANA

17th Century Drawing of Cocoa Pods

Cocoa has been grown in Ghana at least since the 1870s. The first documented evidence is that of the Basel Missionaries from Switzerland who began experimenting with the crop.

There is also evidence that Ghanaians began experimenting with the crop at the same time.




(Copyright, Basel Mission Archives circa 1890, Switzerland.)
Native Ghanaian Women Carrying Cocoa to the Coast
We also know that Tetteh Quarshie, a Ghanaian goldsmith or blacksmith, brought cocoa seeds from Spanish-controlled Fernando Po to continue further experimentation in cocoa growing during the later part of the 19th century. He encouraged other Ghanaians to grow the crop.

(Copyright, Basel Mission Archives circa 1910, Switzerland.) Basel Mission Trading Company Trucks Hauling Cocoa

British government officials also experimented with cocoa in Ghana. No one, however, proved as successful at growing this imported crop as the indigenous Ghanaians. They understood much better than Europeans how to farm in tropical rain forests. Europeans often insisted on using techniques better suited to their home countries --the result was failure.

(Copyright, Basel Mission Archives circa 1930s, Switzerland.)
Cocoa Assembled for Shipment to Market
Many Ghanaians made fortunes in cocoa in the early decades of this century.
To this day, cocoa is produced primarily by independent local farmers with small to moderate-sized holdings, not on the large plantations used in many parts of the world.


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