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Women IV; Marketting

by Phil Bartle, PhD


Selling food is seen as work mainly for women and girls.

Art by Eva Campbell

Selling Tomatoes

Kwawu Business Woman

I have met women who cannot read or write, but who have built up businesses from trading in foodstuffs, to joint ownership of European factories, ownership of buildings of flats not only in the capital city, Accra, but also in the UK, and who have sent their children on to European and American universities to become doctors and lawyers.


Yam Market

Once the staple food of the rain forest, the yam is now becoming a luxury. They grow as vines, and must be planted in mounds, with a stick on which their stems may climb. With the increase in population and the destruction of rain forest land, they are being replaced by cocoa yam (taro root), plantain (cooking banana) and cassava (manioc or tapioca). The plantain (indigenous to the South Pacific) was introduced on the East coast by Arab sea traders and found its way across the continent. The cocoa yam, omankene, had a similar history, but came later. The cassava was introduced by Europeans who found it in central America. It grows in the least nutritious land, but sucks out the last minerals from the earth.

The most popular starch, fufu, which is yam boiled then pounded until it is agglutinated, is now being replaced by a new fufu made from mixing plantain and cassava to get the right consistency.

Women Traders

Woman Food Trader

This Woman's Van is Being Repaired

The woman left, above, owns the van. She hires a man to drive it. A "fitter" has come to repair it. She uses it to collect vegetables from farms and rural markets. She also allows the van to be used for passenger transport.

Small, Weekly, Rural Roadside Market (Plantain and Oranges)

Large Rural Weekly Market

Many rural markets are held weekly. Often several near to each other are held on different week days, so some non food sellers (butchers, tailors, handicrafts) will move each day to the one which is open. At a weekly rural market like this, some women will come and buy large lots of food, and take them back to urban markets to sell.


Street Side Orange Seller and Street Side Grocery Sales

The woman on the left goes to rural rotating markets to buy oranges, and maintains this street side table in Obo where she retails them. She will cut a thin coloured layer off the outside skin, then slice off a small part from the top, and the customer will suck out the juice and pulp from inside. Unlike commercial orange growers in California, Florida and South Africa, farmers in Ghana do not put chemicals in the earth, or selectively breed for orange coloured oranges. When ripe these may be motley and range from yellow and green through orange in colour.

The women on the right had hired this lorry to go to rural markets to buy vegetables and have just arrived back in Obo. The aplonki (driver's mate) is on the roof unloading their inventory. The table is in front of their matrilineage house on the main street of Obo.

Obo Market


Large, Daily, Urban Market

When smoked, fish can stay edible for many days, allowing it to be transported many hundreds of kilometres, from the coast to Ouagadougou. The smoking is done mainly by women, and other women may come from far away to buy fish and take it back to their home areas to sell.

Lorry Park Sales

People travelling are a good market for light food and cooked snacks.

Orange Seller at Lorry Park

Egg Sellar at Lorry Park

Child Selling Cooked Eggs at Lorry Park

Man Know Thyself Seamstress Kiosk

Seamstress Business

Marketing Hair Services

Hair Salon Business

Cloth Seller in the Market

Selling Cloth

See Nkawkaw Lorry Park.



Gentleman's Bar   Love All Canteen

Bar Art    My Kindness is My Downfall Kiosk   ; Palm wine seller

Marketing Snacks and Drinks

Also see wall art.

Files in the Gender Set
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© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2012.12.13

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