In the bustling streets of Accra, capital of Ghana, many vendors, young and old, flock to the roadside daily to earn a living.
Among all the food and beverages being sold, the roasted plantains with peanuts, which are locally referred to as “Kofi Brokeman”, always win the favor of the majority of Ghanaians.
Charity Acquah, 32, a native of the Hohoe in the Volta Region of Ghana told Xinhua she was on the streets since she was unemployed seven years ago.
With a small chair, a wire mesh placed on top of an old saucepan with charcoal in it to set fire which is mounted on a table, as well as an old umbrella to protect her against the scorching sun, her workplace is set up for business to commence.
Acquah said she has been going to nearby markets early in the morning to buy ripe plantains before going to the premises to get ready for the day’s business.
Business, according to her, normally starts at noon where her customers were ready to get some food for lunch.
With a small knife in her hand to peel the ripe plantain, she cut the uncooked food into various sizes depending on the price and place each on the mesh with fire under. The plantain normally takes between 10 to 15 minutes for it to be ready.
“I have used proceeds from this business to cater for my children and also buy personal belongings including saucepan and clothes. I wish to make money from this business to build a house for my children so that they do not suffer in the future,” she said.
Despite the benefits, Acquah said she also had concerns about her health as she is not protected against fire and smoke in the course of doing her work.
Manasseh Boadu, a resident of Labadi, told Xinhua that like most Ghanaians, he has been patronizing roasted plantains on a regular basis because of their nutritional value and also less expensive.
“The plantain, I like it. Plantain and groundnut are good, they balance your diet. Plantain is normally cheaper,” he said.
Similarly, 39-year-old Janet Agyelakor from the Volta Region corroborated the story of Charity Acquah.
Janet, who started the plantain roasting business some three years ago has been using the income generated to finance her four children who are in senior high schools.
“I started this business about three years ago. I have four children who had to continue their education and had no job that is what made me go into this business. I didn’t want them to be school dropouts, so I went into this business and that is what I have been doing to look after them in school ever since,” said Janet.
“Workers and those residents around are the ones who mainly patronize my roasted plantain and peanuts. I want people not to look down upon this business. It is a good business because that is what I have used to look after my children,” she added.
In the West African country, plantain is considered one of the staple foods and a reliable source of starch for many as it can be boiled, fried, and roasted. It has many uses and many people enjoy it when roasted and eaten with peanuts.
Being a popular snack and major means of boosting employment, plantain roasting is estimated to have offered job opportunities to thousands of hundreds of people across the country even though there is no official data from the employment ministry and the Ghana Statistical Service.
Meanwhile, the production of plantain chips in modern factories is becoming the trend to cater to people’s increasing needs. But as far as Janet saw it, the traditional way of roasting plantains along the streets will not be replaced as people’s taste for them will never die away. Enditem