Twifo Praso - A Look into local Economy
Twifo Praso in the inner part of the Central Region is not exactly the most famous tourist place in Ghana and with its only about 3000 inhabitants certainly not every Ghanaian is known. Nevertheless, my stay here was one of the most exciting on my Ghana trips. We felt the need to learn a lot about the local industries and the simple fact that we knew someone who knew someone in Twifo Praso who could give us some insight into them. In the two days we spent here we had the opportunity to look at a palm oil, a rubber and a cocoa farm as well as a (illegally) operated gold mine and to observe and interview the people at work here.
On the subject of cocoa, I have already made a few comments in a previous chapter, which is why I would like to devote this to the other sectors. In the region around Twifo Praso, palm oil production is certainly the most important, a agricultural sector that is not without controversy because of its environmental impact in the form of large-scale monocultures, but which accounts for a large part of the jobs here and is based on the many small businesses, which partly for the local market but also for export process the palm kernels to the oil often used in the local cuisine. At one of the small family farms, we were able to look at the entire process of sorting, heating and pressing, and apparently the whole family was actually involved in the production.
After these already exciting impressions on the first day, a visit to a gold mine was planned for the morning of the second day in Twifo Praso, although we were not aware beforehand that this was an illegally operated mining at the Pra flowing here. Arriving in the small town, where the people working here for the most part live, our companion has started negotiations as to whether we can look at the mine at all. In fact, the conversation took half an eternity and I had almost given up hope when we finally not only got the green light, but to my surprise also the permission to photograph, film and film here at will and interviews. For a few small pieces of gold from the sand of the river, an immense effort and hard physical work is done here. However, due to the massive transformations at the riverbed and the use of questionable chemicals, this form of degradation is also an enormous burden on people and the environment, apart from the fact that here people with only rudimentary knowledge of swimming in the flowing waters. But the reputation of gold can promote very special stakes by people is not, as we know, an exclusive phenomenon for Ghanaian gold prospectors.
After the trip to the noisy machines and the certain thrill at the gold mine we went for a change again into the quiet forest to a village that was quite sleepy at first glance, to see a rubber farm lying there. We were here with the owner of the farm, who could show us a lot about the cultivation of rubber. Here are the trees, from which the valuable raw material is extracted by tapping. While the plantation owner showed us the whole process and explained the news of the foreign visitors in the adjacent village, gradually the grape of interested people grew around us until finally the whole village felt gathered and we were probably here the attraction of the week.
The wealth of experiences in Twifo Praso, which was made possible by local contacts, was as I said one of my highlights in Ghana and the so tranquil place left a deep impression on me.