Surviving the Ramadan, food vendors tell their story

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh

Waakye, Hausa koko, koose  and many other foods that come from the “Zongos” are now staples for a large section of the Ghanaian society. From the office worker who visits Amalia’s waakye joint to annoy everyone with endless purchases for 10 people at a time, to the market woman that need a huge mug of koko to kickstart his day, we are all in one way or the other dependent on these foods.

For such food vendors, especially in Muslim communities like as Nima, Mamobi and Newtown here in Accra, every day comes with a bounty harvest of customers, except for the period of Ramadan.

The Holy Month requires Muslims, who form majority of their customer base to fast during the day and only eat when the sun sets. That means sales are heavily affected negatively, during the fasting period.

The situations requires careful and thought through strategies to stay in business 

Waakye seller Zahara Alhassan tells primenewghana she only sells in the evening when the fast breaks in order to make profits. This is because sales are very high at that time. The food is also made exceptionally tasty to attract enough customers over the short window when the Muslims are allowed to eat.

Another seller, Saadia Mohammed says she has a special kind of koose she makes alongside the Hausa koko during the period of Ramadan to attract patronage in the evening. She claims the koose is so tasty that the fasting Muslims have to compete with Christians and other people who are not fasting but wants a bite.

Sunset is a time to end the fast and feast

Other food vendors in Muslim communities compliment their food with the sale of fruits, largely consumed after the breaking of the fast.

Fruits are ideal for breaking the fast before any heavy food is consumed

Surprisingly Muslims who observe the fast say expenses on food does not change as expected, Muslim Abanga, a resident of Nima says though he have to skip lunch, snacks and other delicacies during the day, the heavy meal intakes required at dawn before the fast begins and after sun set, means he spends equally if not more than on any ordinary day.