Government has announced plans to erect a statue in of honour Tetteh Quarshie, the man accredited for bringing cocoa to Ghana. It is likely the statute will be erected at the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout in Accra.
Addressing family members of Tetteh Quarshie who called on him at the Flagstaff House, President Akufo-Addo said the country must honour its heroes to encourage the younger generation.
According to the President, erecting a statue in honour of Tetteh Quarshie is to recognise his enormous contribution to Ghana’s economy.
“A statue of him there will be very appropriate. If people like him are honoured, they are an example for the young and future generation of Ghanaians. And it is important that we have a history where we have heroes,” the President said.
Tetteh Quarshie (1843 – 25 December 1892) was a pre-independence Ghanaian agriculturalist and the person directly responsible for the introduction of cocoa crops to Ghana, which today constitute one of the major export crops of the Ghanaian economy.
Quarshie traveled to the island of Fernando Po (now Bioko in Equatorial Guinea) in 1870 and returned in 1876 to Ghana in order to introduce the crop. He died on Christmas Day 1892.
Tetteh Quarshie was a farmer from Teshie known as Mlekubo. His mother was known as Ashong-Fio from Labadi, both hailing from the Ga-Dangme ethnic group. In his teens Quarshie became an apprentice in a Basel Mission workshop at Akropong.
Due to his hard work he soon became a master blacksmith and was in fact the first blacksmith to be established at Akuapim-Mampong. His hobby was farming.
Whether Quarshie was actually the first person to introduce cocoa to Ghana was questioned during the administration of Sir Gordon Guggisberg, British Governor of the Gold Coast from 1919 to 1927.
The colonial judge Sir William Brandford Griffith (1858-1939) claimed that it was his father, Sir William Brandford Griffith (Governor of the Gold Coast in 1880 and 1885), who deserved the credit.
The Basel Missionaries also claimed to have experimented with cocoa beans in Ghana as noted in their diaries.