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Coconut sellers say they will be reviewing their price from GH¢5 to GH¢6
Coconut sellers say they will be reviewing their price from GH¢5 to GH¢6

Coconut sellers satisfy demands of consumers

Coconut, a fruit that is readily available and can be enjoyed at any time for just GH₵ 5, has seen a surge in demand after increased awareness of its health benefits.

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In Ghana, coconuts are usually sold from wheelbarrows, trucks or mats on the ground, but now, some traders are getting creative by setting up attractive stalls.

 They offer coconut juice in different-sized bottles, priced between GH₵ 10 and GH₵ 35. Customers can enjoy the juice in disposable cups and with straws.

In interviews last week in Accra, some traders attributed the upgrade to the increase in demand for the fruit especially after information received on its health benefits. This they said had prompted them to sell in more hygienic, fanciful and presentable manner.

“My customers mostly buy the water alone in the bottle to mix or take with their medications. Bars and restaurants also purchase them to make cocktails and other dishes while others too say they prefer it to regular water”, a trader, Selassie Korku, remarked.

Sellers now present their wares in attractive stalls

Sellers now present their wares in attractive stalls

According to Mr Korku, who is the owner of Kadosh Fresh Coconut at Pantang, Accra, he chose to brand his bottles to attract more sales as he also catered for parties, weddings and other events.

Another trader, Kofi, who had in stock, bottles to use on request said: "Coconut business is good nowadays, especially with everyone talking about its health benefits", he said as he cut open a coconut for a customer.

In a separate interview, The Mirror engaged with a nutritionist of the Nutrition and Diet Unit at the Shai-Osudoku District Hospital in Accra, Mrs Mary Ama Darko, to find out if coconuts were beneficial to our health.

She said coconut water and its food aid in hydration, contains healthy fats, supports immune systems and promotes healthy heart, among others.

Trade

Trading in coconuts for many is quiet lucrative. According to Mr Gideon Wilson who sold his coconuts from a truck at the American House Junction in Accra, he buys 100 pieces at GH₵ 220 or GH₵ 240.

According to a nutritionist, Mrs Mary Ama Darko, coconut boosts immune system, reduces cholesterol levels, promotes heart health, among others

According to a nutritionist, Mrs Mary Ama Darko, coconut boosts immune system, reduces cholesterol levels, promotes heart health, among others

“My supplier brings them from Swedru, Central Region. Sometimes, I am able to buy 300 pieces because on a good day, I can sell 100 pieces”, he said.

Talking about pricing and profit, Mr Wilson who has been in the business since the age of 13 said he sold one at GH₵ 5 and made averagely GH₵ 250 in profits per 100 pieces.

“Sometimes, I lose because some would have gone bad or not ‘grown’ enough and I give some out  also but in all, I am able to feed my two children,” he added.

According to him, due to fuel cost and vehicle maintenance, his suppliers now said they will charge GH₵ 300 per 100 pieces so he will be increasing his price to GH₵ 6 soon.  Other sellers our reporter spoke to also shared same sentiments. In fact, one trader had already started.

For Kwame Ofori who sells at Adenta-Frafraha, Accra, he gets his supply free from an elderly male friend of his.

 “He has a coconut farm in his backyard but he hardly consumes them, so when they are ‘ripe’ he will ask me to come and pluck them. So I sell and get good profit then use that money to buy from other suppliers when my man’s are finished,” he added.

For Ofori, once other traders start selling at GH₵6, he would also start.

Identifying hard, medium and soft coconuts

Asked how he was able to tell how hard or soft a coconut flesh is, Mr Wilson said there was a sound each type make when hit with a machete. “Coconut with hard flesh has a kwa kwa sound, medium has a bass sound and very soft (with a lot of water) barely makes any sound,” he said.

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Coconut water can be enjoyed with a stray

Coconut water can be enjoyed with a stray

Another trader along the Madina Estate stretch who gave his name as Duabo told our reporter that, he could detect from the husk of the coconut how the inner part (food and water ratio) would be.

“When you press it and the husk is very dry and hard, it means the food will be hard with less water, medium dryness and hardness means not too soft and not too hard food, which is called hɔ ni hɔ in Twi. Lastly, very soft husk means the food is very soft with a lot of water,” he said.

Mr Duabo added that he is also able to sell about 150 to 200 pieces especially during the weekends,” he said.

Health benefits

On health benefits, Mrs Darko said coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, making it an excellent hydrating beverage especially during hot weather or after a physical activity.

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Some customers enjoying the fruit

Some customers enjoying the fruit

She added that it also contains dietary fibre, which aids in digestion, promotes regular bowel movements, supports gut health and may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

“Coconut is actually a good fruit to consume regularly due to its ability to strengthen the immune system and protect against infections. However, like everything, it should be taken in moderation,” Mrs Darko noted.

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