Grains of Paradise Revolution-Ghana

Posted in Latest News on Saturday, 09 July 2011. Hits 4755 Print

Grains of Paradise Revolution-Ghana

Research and technology transfer
Period: 2009-Ongoing

NTFP development has recently emerged as a promising alternative to timber extraction in natural forest management. Domestication and commercialization of NTFPs present a viable alternative strategy to their extraction from natural forest thereby easing pressure on the forest and ensuring long term sustainability.
This has led to the current trend in natural resources management whereby local communities are increasingly undertaking the semi-domestication of formerly natural occurring indigenous wild trees. A development reinforced by the growing commercial potential of some of these NTFP’s such as Grains of Paradise, Voacanga, Black pepper, etc.


Meleguetta pepper or Aframomum (Grains of Paradise - GOP) is a spice native to tropical West Africa.  In the 13th Century, traders from West Africa carried this spice across the desert to sell in Tripoli and later to Italy. The Italians called it “Grains of Paradise” because of its high value, and the secrecy of the country of its origin. Europe acquired a taste for the spice as a substitute for real pepper (Enti, 1988). In England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, many foodstuffs and drinks were flavored with Grains of Paradise along with other spices such as cinnamon and ginger. While its popularity in Europe declined over time, its use in West and North African continues. In North Africa, the extract of the pepper, mixed with other ingredients like butter, honey, peanuts and almonds, is used in after-dinner coffee. The spice is also used to flavor rum and brandy.


The use of this spice in the beverage industry has increased in demands with limited cultivation done except for production experienced on Cocoa farms. The desire to cultivate this spice from seeds was beset with challenges as zero percent germination was observed except for using the rhizomes. This lead to ASNAPP teaming up with the Crop and Soil Sciences Department of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to develop appropriate propagation techniques for GOP cultivation.

ASNAPP relied on its research partners at KNUST to lead all research efforts on Natural Plant Products. Research on alternative propagation techniques for GOP was intensified due to the challenges encountered over the years. Through the efforts of the partnership and preliminary findings available, appropriate propagation technologies on the selected GOP was developed and transferred to farmers in different ASNAPP project beneficiary communities.

This has lead to the cultivation of over 200 acres of GOP which is expected to yield over 80MT of GOP annually in year 2 to supply both existing regional and international markets. The initial yields already recorded and sold are putting smiles on the faces of farmers who are excited to increase cultivation that will lead to an increase in their supplementary income.



Critical Success factors

Role of research
The role of research in overcoming the challenge with the GOP seedlings cannot be overemphasized. With the research team from KNUST and intensive work, ASNAPP was able to avert the initial germination difficulties with the use of rhizome. This important success also ensured a more efficient and cheaper way of producing GOP seedlings, stressing the need for research in such project implementation.

The role of collaboration and partnerships, especially, organizations with established community presence (RUDEYA) and local public institutions (MOFA, REP) as well as KNUST, the lead research institution in successful project initiation and continuation is very critical. These working relationships, with stated roles and responsibilities, did not only facilitate the drawing up of targeted and relevant interventions and approaches but also ensured ease of community entry and acceptance of project by participating communities. It also provided a broad support base for the project and ensured buy-in of all stakeholders resulting in a fairly quick project set up and implementation.

ASNAPP USA (Rutgers University), KNUST, RUDEYA, REP and MOFA
ICCO Netherlands

Please provide contact information for anyone interested in following up on this story:

Name and title
Larry Amekuse
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Telephone number
00233-244-864372, 00233-302-505617