Posted by / Friday 19 May 2017 / No comments

The importance of the Kola Nut tree in the economy of pre-colonial Ghana

Mali, Nuts, Kola, Travel, Africa, Djenne
The kola nut tree is an evergreen tree that is native to Africa, especially, in the rain forests. It could grow to about twenty-five metres. The nut is shaped in the form of a star. Inside the fruit are white seed shells and inside the white shells are the almost square shaped nuts. The nuts contain 2% of caffeine. The kola nuts played very important roles in the economy of pre-colonial Ghana. Some of the ways it was important to the economy of pre-colonial Ghana are discussed below.

Provision of employment
The kola nut tree was important to the pre-colonial economy of Ghana because it provided a source employment to the people. People were engaged to pluck the seeds from the trees, to remove the white seed shells and to extract the nuts. It was transported by head porters to market centres in baskets for sale. Those who engaged all these chain of activities were remunerated so it served as their source of employment.

It was important as a commodity
The nuts of the kola nut tree were items that people traded in. It was transported across the length and breadth of Ghana and sold in various markets in the country. This brought a lot of income to the kola nut merchants.

As currency
The kola nut was important as a medium of exchange in pre-colonial Ghana. Today, it is extinct as a medium of exchange but it is still used under certain circumstances like when a bride price is being negotiated. Some also present it as part of items presented to the elders of a village when a visitor comes to introduce him or herself.

Medicinal importance
The kola nut was important in pre-colonial Ghana because it was used to cure skin diseases. It was chewed in a paste and applied to the affected areas of the body to obtain a cure. It also served as a stimulant because it contains 25 of caffeine. It was sometimes chewed to keep sleep away.

As a social value
The kola nut was important during turning point in the lives of the pre-colonial Ghanaians. It was used during naming ceremonies, puberty rites, weddings and at funerals. It was offered to visitors as a form of welcome. The seeds were chewed in groups as people bond with one another.

Spiritual importance
In certain parts of pre-colonial Ghana, the kola nut played an important role in the religious lives of the people. In other words, it was used as an object of religion. In some areas of the country, in those days, the kola nut was used when offering sacred prayers to the ancestors. It was also part of the items used when the ancestors a being venerated.

1. Discuss the importance of any two of the following plants in pre-colonial economy of Ghana:
a. Sheanut tree
b. Kola nut tree

c. Oil-palm tree

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