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FRUIT OF PASSIONATE, PRAYERFUL LABOUR

Health & Lifestyle

Catherine Krobo Edusei started her career as a banker in 1986 at the Saudi American Bank in the United Kingdom, where she worked for ten years after graduating in business administration from Camden College. She is a mother of two and the founder and managing director of Eden Tree Ltd, a producer and distributor of high-end organic food produce in Ghana.

Catherine Krobo Edusei started her career as a banker in 1986 at the Saudi American Bank in the United Kingdom, where she worked for ten years after graduating in business administration from Camden College. She is a mother of two and the founder and managing director of Eden Tree Ltd, a producer and distributor of high-end organic food produce in Ghana.

Catherine is recognised nationally as a strong promoter of women in business and received a national award from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Ghana in 2013 for her “outstanding contribution towards nation-building”.

After giving birth to both of her children within a short space of time, she decided to take a break from her banking career to focus on her children. Considering the cost of childcare in the UK, she and the father of her children decided it would be more convenient for her to move back to Ghana to raise the children, as care here was less expensive. She moved to Ghana in 1996.

Still fresh in the country, she was looking for opportunities that would allow her to spend more time with her children, and decided to pray about it. “I didn’t want to go back to the office environment, because I wanted to be close to the children,” she says.

Her prayer was answered shortly, and Eden Tree was born.

Discovering a passion

The initial agreement Catherine had made with the children’s father before returning to Ghana with her son and daughter was not to go back to office work, so that she could stay close to the children and be more involved in raising them. But after a while, she found she was not comfortable with staying at home and not going out to work.

Catherine confided in her elder sister about her dilemma and her sister in turn encouraged her to go on her knees and pray about what she wanted to do next with her life. Her prayers were always in line with the agreement she had made with her husband. It was praying which led her to the agricultural sector.

In 1997 she decided to give farming a try. Growing her first crops in the yard of her house, she realised she had a hidden talent. She had never done any farmwork or studied anything related to the subject, apart from growing flowers in the garden at her home back in London, so the revelation came as a shock. And compared to her garden back in the United Kingdom, which was a complete mess, this farm garden was turning out well.

She would check regularly on her plants and water them. “I was always eager after planting the seeds and would check up on them to see if they had germinated. It was then I realised my passion was not for planting flowers, it was for growing food instead,” she said. “It made me excited.”

Catherine began studying plants. She carried out a few experiments, and all were a striking success. Her original plan was to pursue aloe vera farming, so she asked her sister-in-law to send her some literature on the subject from London. Her sister-in-law mistakenly sent her books on planting completely different types of herbs and species. As she read the books, she fell in love with growing food and a much wider selection of plants.

During this period, she realised there was a need for freshly and safely produced fruit, vegetables and herbs. But the demand for organic farm produce was very low and few people thought that Ghanaians were big consumers of fruit and herbs.

After harvesting her first produce and taking what she wanted to cover her family’s needs, Catherine packaged the remainder and sent it to the only large supermarket in Accra at that time – Kwatsons (now Koala) at Osu – to try to market her crops. She was received by a manager who was not keen on the foods.

“I knew there were people who craved such fresh herbs
but could not find them
in the traditional open-air markets at the time”


“He was not certain how they would sell and told me to come for them the next day if they did not sell. The next day, they were all gone.”

That was the confirmation she needed of what she had suspected: there was a huge demand for fresh produce, and especially herbs. “I knew there were people working in the embassies, expatriates and returnees who craved such fresh herbs for cooking healthy meals but could not find them in the traditional open-air markets at the time,” she says.

Public health

And so Eden Tree was born in 1997. The company was an instant success.

Its mission is to provide good nutrition and bridge the gap between unhealthy and healthy eating habits in Ghana by producing, packaging and supplying high-quality fruit, vegetables and herbs to the Ghanaian market.

The company’s motto partly says, “Healthier people, better nation”, because Catherine believes that most of the diseases from which people in this country suffer stem from unhealthy eating.

Since Eden Tree’s incorporation in 1997, its philosophy has been the same: quality and excellence at all costs. The organic produce is grown with both the consumer’s health and safety and environmental sustainability in mind.

The unpredictability of the agricultural sector and growth in demand for her company’s products led Catherine to start a scheme for outgrowers, allowing her company to buy and process food from other farmers. The scheme, which supports over 300 smallholders in the country, seeks to promote farming and healthy living.

“The products come from our own farms in the Volta and Eastern Regions of Ghana and from a unique list of exceptionally trained outgrowers,” she says. “A network of trusted farmers across the country supplies the company with the produce that it is unable to grow itself.”

Before a farmer can become a supplier to Eden Tree, his or her farm is inspected and he or she must commit to certain high standards which are monitored frequently. All produce from the outgrower farms is painstakingly inspected, cleaned and bagged at the company’s processing plant.

Eden Tree is currently the leading producer and distributor in Ghana of high-end fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs and is looking forward to expanding into exports to other African countries.

“The plan was never to come to Ghana after studying in the UK. But I believe when we set our own goals, God has other plans for his people and his plans prevail,” she says.