Tumu is the most remote location I’ve ever visited. I spent my entire life in Accra, except a few years in the Eastern Region for high school. Accra is fun, busy and provides everything a young man seeks for. In all this, the adventures of travelling were so tempting. This made me not even have a second thought when I was asked to support a team of agricultural officers to monitor some fields in the North under the Chi-Gaba Project by NewAge Agric Solutions Ltd.
Chi-Gaba is a Hausa word that means ‘to ‘progress, or move forward This information piqued my interest in the project’s overall objectives. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the Chi-Gaba Project is a smallholder out-growers project that targets rural farmers by providing them input credits on seeds (hybrids), fertilizers (NPK & Urea), Crop Protection Products like weedicides, pre-and post-emergent herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. and make them available on time to enable farmers to cultivate their crops.
The journey which we made by road took roughly about 16 hours, but it wasn’t quite as difficult as I had anticipated. Perhaps the stress was absorbed by the comfortable MG pick-up truck we rode in. We made several stops along the trip; some were to get food, while others were to let herds of cattle cross the road. The stretch between Wa and Tumu, though, was probably the most exciting section of the expedition. From Ping to Hain and Jeffisi, the uneven and dusty road signalled that we were getting close to our destination. The ‘Welcome to Tumu’ signage greeted us on the outskirts of town.
We were exhausted and had to get something to eat and get a place to rest. There are not many options in terms of eateries but one ‘food joint’ that you cannot go to Tumu without patronizing is ‘Chop Better’, trust me! We were served with a steaming hot banku and groundnut soup loaded with guinea fowl and goat meat. After which we spent the night at Gateway Traveler’s lodge.
Tell you what, I was taken aback by how I perceived the place. It wasn’t what I expected based on the road’s layout. Even though it was a small town, it appeared to be well-organized. Tumu is the capital of the Sissala East district, according to one of the Chi-Gaba technical officers. The district is bordered by Burkina Faso and Sissala West. He went on to say that it is known for its importance in Ghanaian agriculture, particularly for crops like maize, soya beans, and nuts. The Sissala area has been the country’s leading maize producer for the past two (2) years. It is a tranquil community with nearly all of its residents being farmers.
On my next day, we went to the field, we were to inspect maize fields but to my utmost surprise, every maize farm we visited had this weird-looking crop by it. Initially, I thought it was a mere coincidence but after visiting over 5 farms on my first day, I concluded that this crop must be something valuable to the farmers. So, on my second day of field inspection, I started paying attention and asking questions and that’s when I discovered the crop was sesame.
Why are most farmers growing sesame? Are we missing anything in Accra? Then a farmer enlightened me, he said “Bossu, the average price of a 50kg bag of sesame is GH¢400.00, that of a 50kg bag of maize is GH¢100.00 and soya is GH¢150.00. “Senior eno be small difference oo, the sesame market is very ripe and also it has a lot of nutritional benefits”. Truly I was astonished at how such a plant with tiny seeds had this huge monetary worth. WOW!!! Is Sesame the new Gold???
Join me in the next issue as I meticulously unravel this new gold.…