TWO traditional rulers have begun an initiative to celebrate and recognise the role of Tetteh Quarshie in cocoa production in the country.
The two rulers, Nii Nortey Owuo III, the Chief of Osu, and Osabarima Kwame Otu Darte III, the Chief of Akwapim Mampong, at a ceremony to begin a year-long programme this year in memory of Tetteh Quarshie, called on the government and the people of Ghana to celebrate and commemorate Tetteh Quarshie for the honour he did the country.
Tetteh Quarshie was a pre-independence Ghanaian agriculturist who first introduced the cocoa crop to the country in 1879 by planting its seeds on his farm on his return from Fernando Po. The crop has since become the bedrock of the country’s economy.
He was also the most successful entrepreneur the country had ever produced.
On his return to the country, Tetteh Quarshie planted the seeds in Accra but they did not yield any fruits. He, therefore, decided to go back to Mampong, where he worked as a blacksmith, to plant the cocoa beans and they were successful.
Many equally important historic Ghanaians who have contributed to the country’s development have always been remembered and celebrated, but, according to the chiefs, Tetteh Quarshie had not been given the needed commemoration.
The cocoa crop he brought to the country has become a major export crop of the Ghanaian economy.
Speaking at the ceremony, Nii Owuo stated that cocoa had been of help in sustaining the country’s development, for which reason the one who first introduced it into the country needed to be remembered.
He also stated that had it not been Tetteh Quarshie who brought the crop to Ghana, the nation would have suffered greatly, despite the oil production.
“Even if we have found oil, oil cannot do what cocoa has done for the country,” he said.
He expressed his gratitude to the Mamponghene, who had brought up the initiative, and paid him (Nii Owuo) a visit as well to discuss how and what should be done in memory of Tetteh Quarshie.
Nii Owuo further advised the youth of Osu and all Ghanaians to uphold the unity between Osu and Mampong Akwapim and urged other chiefs and people in the country to emulate what the two chiefs of Osu and Mampong Akuapem had done to bring peace and unity among all ethnic groups and Ghanaians.
Osabarima Darte stated that there was the need for a day to be set aside to celebrate and commemorate Tetteh Quarshie and appealed to all Ghanaians and the government to help in making that possible, since Tetteh Quarshie had contributed greatly to the nation’s economic growth.
After the celebrations, the two chiefs made a public announcement of their intention to join hands to celebrate the life of Tetteh Quarshie and equally use it as an opportunity to bring the people of Mampong Akuapem and Osu together.
A joint committee has been set up, together with other stakeholders, to plan year-long activities and programmes to celebrate Tetteh Quarshie and commemorate over a century of his legacy, the cocoa industry.
Among some of the major activities and programmes planned for the celebration are a memorial and thanksgiving service at the Presbyterian Church, the Tetteh Quarshie memorial lectures, a business seminar on leadership and enterprises development and the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Festival to be held at Mampong Akuapem.
A spokesperson for the interim planning committee said the committee would engage other stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Ghana Cocoa Board and several other industry players, together with the family of Tetteh Quarshie.
Source: Alice Aryetey