We first got to know Akosua Krah through our initial (failed) attempt at a block farmer model. We'll share a future post on the lessons we learned through that experience, but one of the more valuable takeaways was in selecting dedicated farmers. Akosua stood out from the rest - when other farmers barely managed to make it to the farm once a week, Akosua would walk the five mile distance to and from the farm several times a week. And when the other plots failed due to unforeseen environmental factors, her trees flourished.
When we arrived at her compound to chat, Akosua's voice was raspy; she and her family were in a mourning period for her recently deceased brother. Nevertheless, her eyes shined with mischief and laughter throughout the interview. I think that captures her character well. Akosua is armed with a rugged optimism, a no-nonsense attitude about the hard work despite life's challenges.
Join us as we get to know Akosua in our journey to plant more moringa trees and help more farmers.
My name is Akosua Krah. I am a widow, I am a farmer, and I’m a Mo. I have three children—two boys, one girl. I don’t really know my age, but if I check my ID card, I can tell you how old I am. I didn’t go to school, that’s why I don’t know my date of birth.
Before I started farming, I was in petty trading. But when I was selling these small things, the money wasn’t coming. I didn’t even have money to buy the inventory to sell. And when I did, customers would buy on credit because they too didn’t have cash.
So the money I needed, I did not get. When my children came asking for GHC10 million, 20 million (~$250-$500 USD), for their school fees, I didn’t have it. I was not earning enough to cover my costs by selling and trading.
That’s when I noticed that farming might help me, so I stopped selling and started farming groundnuts. In one acre, I would get five sacks’ worth (~$340), which is enough to cover school fees.
But with moringa, I think the potential is huge; that's why I am not growing groundnuts this season. Just like the cocoa tree (Ghana's top export), moringa will be my cocoa.
I won't joke with moringa. Once, people came from the next town asking for moringa and they were directed to me. They said they wanted to buy moringa and I told them, I’m not going to sell to you! Someone else gave me the seed and trained me. I have someone else who will buy. Kwami is there and I can only sell to Kwami. (Kwami is one of our co-founders of MoringaConnect, Minga Foods' parent company)
Even if my own mother wants to come and pluck leaves from the tree, I won’t allow her sometimes. Permission needs to be taken from me before anyone touches the tree. I want the tree to mature and grow healthy pods. Only then, after the pods come, can people take the leaves.
If there’s something that you want in life, you need to be serious about it. Sitting idle is not good, and that is why I am always involved. I want to show that moringa is good and if someone wants to plant, it will be good for them. We will benefit from this, and it will benefit our children and our grandchildren as well. This is what I see moringa to be.