Make Christmas more Ghanaian―Eat what you grow, grow what you eat and share what is yours

By  Mabel Delassie Awuku


I do remember vividly during my childhood days when families and friends would dash into our home with home-bred live chicken, yam, Ghanaian local rice, cassava and many other fresh farm produce for us to use during the Christmas celebrations. It is more fun when you are lucky enough to get a half piece of cloth to sew a new dress― a move that sends a wave of excitement in all of my siblings and I.


While growing up, I had observed a sharp turn of events on Christmas eve.  Most Ghanaians would rather patronize foreign products displayed in shops and hampers across the country and I do wonder what has happened to the Ghanaian Christmas which once served as a peak season for our farmers to make the best of sales and also as a boost for the Ghanaian economy as opposed the patronage of foreign goods which goes to boost other economies.


Christmas


Christmas across the world is a season of “Giving and Sharing” to commemorate Christ, whose birth was a gift to mankind and brought joy and good tidings for all Christians and non Christians alike. The season is characterized by giving, sharing and making merry to express joy in the Son of Man whose life brought great tidings to humankind. It also marks the end of the year which adds to the joy of surviving another year.


Although it is an event adopted from the Europeans, it has been given much recognition and prominence because of the common personality involved that stood for all regardless of the continent in which one is located.  


Here in Ghana, the breeze of Christmas starts announcing its presence in November when most Ghanaian Radio stations start playing melodious Christmas tunes to prepare and remind people about the event as well as conscientize the populace on exchange of gifts and the preparations towards the birth of Christ.


The actual festive day is crowded with several activities including beach parties, picnics, church activities and charity donations, among other varied activities. Cooking, eating and drinking cannot be left out of the events as it adds much excitement to an already joyous occasion.

 

 
 Ideal situation


For us, as a people, there is the need to build confidence in what we produce and eat at this festive because it will be a big boost to agriculture and, therefore, the general economic growth and development of the country.


 I asked friends, what would be wrong with a hamper with cassava, yam, rice, tomatoes and other farm produce, some Ghanaian made textiles, locally manufactured drinks from Ghanaian distilleries and others as Christmas presents, instead of foreign or imported items? And the response was a loud laughter and a great gaze at my face as if to say: are you okay? Or, better still, what could make you entertain this weird thought?


The idea of farm produce, some Ghanaian made textiles and locally-manufactured drinks from Ghanaian distilleries as Christmas present looked so unwelcomed and very unacceptable; yet it remains a fact that building confidence in what we produce and eat, not only at this festive occasion but also as a staple diet, will be a big boost to agriculture and, therefore, the general economic growth and development of the country.


There’s nothing wrong with offering hampers decorated with Ghanaian-grown vegetables, fruits and other farm produce as gifts for relatives and friends on Christmas day. It will, certainly, boost sales during the festive season, create  wealth and be in the position to provide for the home and to fully enjoy the festivities.


Conclusion


Advocacy for the patronage of locally-made products is not a call to discourage foreign trade but to encourage more local trade to create wealth for Ghanaian local farmers, traders and the economy at large.


It is a call to love Ghana first, patronize Made-in-Ghana goods. And for Christmas 2017 and beyond, it is hampers with farm produce, Ghana-made textiles and locally-manufactured drinks from Ghana’s distilleries.


Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year in advance


The writer is a staff of the Information Services Department (ISD).


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