I am not in any way going to do free public relations here for Ekumfi Pure Juice.  If however, this turns out to be so, it is their luck.  They have simply caught my eye. 

Made-in-Ghana

Plus I believe the truth can never be suppressed, especially when it comes to made-in-Ghana products.  We should project our own and give praise where praise is due.

I could not resist getting closer to a pack of fruit juices which were on display at a local supermarket last weekend.  A closer look attracted me to this particular one which turned out to be our own Ekumfi Fruit Juice, produced here in a rural community in the Central Region of Ghana. 

I was seeing the product for the very first time.  Though not a fan of fruit juices no matter the claims, I try not to get tempted in any way.  However, I could not resist the attraction to the variety of Ekumfi fruit juices.  Love at first sight, one may say. 

I remembered late last year in the news, there was talk about the factory having started production and hoping to put out their products on the shelves in time for Christmas.  I did not see any at Christmas.  In fact, I did not go out specifically to fish out for it, as curious as I am.

Passion

So on seeing it this time, my true passion for made-in-Ghana products and my instinct of being a citizen and not a spectator, pushed me to pick some to try.   I got a few packs of both the plain pineapple and the pineapple and ginger flavour, eager to go and try.  Did I get convinced?

Having tasted the fruit juice and loved it, I went back earlier this week to pick a few more.  I am particularly enjoying the “pine-ginja” flavour.   It tastes very fresh and the ginger flavour is so original and pronounced, if you are the type who loves ginger.

Just as the juice itself tastes good and fresh, so does the packaging.  A lot of times, packaging takes away from good products when it fails to meet expectation.  The converse is also true and disappointingly, one sees a lot of that in some of our local products.  Good packaging can bring a poor product very much to life. The Ekumfi fruit juice packaging is distinct and inviting for food packaging in particular.

Livelihood empowerment

But above all else, what seemed fulfilling for me is a touching appeal that I read on one of the packs and which read, “Purchasing a pack sustains jobs for rural Ghana”.  I thought that was a hidden reality that most consumers do not take cognisance of.  It is also hardly promoted by our entrepreneurs to appeal to the conscience of consumers. 

The statement reminded me of a previous experience with my former employer.  Prominent in oil palm plantations that served as backward integration for some of the company’s fast moving consumer products, I witnessed how the out-grower scheme in the plantations gave jobs to hundreds of the rural communities and helped with poverty alleviation and livelihood empowerment in the area.  So the Ekumfi factory’s subtle appeal on its packaging excited me.

 There certainly is a lot of job creation for pineapple and ginger growers as well as the supply chain associated with it. They should continue to appeal to the conscience of their consumers for they have a brilliant product to sell.

Varied flavours

While applauding the company, they need to be on their toes and not let their guard down.  They have competitive products whose standards need to be upheld going forward.  

With time, they would need to go into more consumer research to establish and cater accordingly for changing consumer needs and taste.  Yes, ginger flavour but how about lemon, pepper, prekese, and all the local super flavours grown and used locally?  Other seasonal fruits like mangoes, water melon and oranges go waste a lot times due to lack of preservation.  Does the company have plans for other juices as well?

The lessons from the Ekumfi Company are lessons that need to be taught to or replicated by our indigenous and specifically targeted community firms, especially those in the one district one factory zone. 

As the country accelerates its avowed aim to create wealth in the rural communities and empower the youth, Ekumfi could be a model and a case study for the future. One wishes them well and pray that theirs will not be a nine-day wonder.

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The writer can be contacted via email: vickywirekoandoh@yahoo.com