No more free pepper soon — Ga kenkey sellers

Patrons of Ga kenkey in Accra must brace themselves for extra expenditure if they want to continue enjoying their delicacy.

This is because some sellers of the kenkey are contemplating reviewing their operational cost to meet the continuous increase in prices on the market of ingredients used for the food.

A visit to some known Ga Kenkey joints within the Accra metropolis in areas such as Adabraka, Osu, Tudu and Jamestown last Wednesday revealed that they bought a bag of pepper for GH¢800 and as a result, many of the kenkey sellers are considering factoring the cost of the pepper, onion and tomatoes into their production cost.

Some balls of Ga kenkey on fireSome balls of Ga kenkey on fire


The effect of their decision is that the ground pepper with slices of onions and tomatoes that complement the kenkey would no longer be served free.

Kenkey (also known as kɔmi, otim or nkran dorkunu) has been patronised for years as one of the staple dishes enjoyed by many from all walks of life, especially the Gas, due to its affordability and accessibility. 

It is usually sold with pepper sauce and fried fish.

More sophisticated joints sell with avocados, shrimps and fried eggs.

Some of the Ga kenkey sellers in an interview with The Mirror last Wednesday said “pepper has become expensive and very soon we will start selling it.

It will not be free.

Accra kenkey that used to be a meal for the poor is now expensive.

If you want to enjoy a proper kenkey meal, you must have about GH¢50 because fish has also become expensive and a bag of pepper alone is now GH¢800”.

One of the caterers at Kenkey house stirring pepper sauceOne of the caterers at Kenkey house stirring pepper sauce

At the Kenkey Boutique Company Ltd at Adabraka, the seller who gave her name as Hajia lamented about the cost of ingredients explaining that she was unable to serve her clients with as much pepper as they desired even though she knew that the quantity she served was inadequate.

She said there were customers who wanted to buy only kenkey with plenty ground pepper without fish but that was not possible.

“Some people may only have GH¢10 and would want maybe two balls with just pepper and there are those who may only have GH¢5 but we use the fish to sell the kenkey.

They opt for only kenkey because fish is expensive.

The least is GH¢10 and very soon the pepper will also not be free,” she explained.

Hajia explained that in 2017, she had many customers but since the price of kenkey increased from GH¢2 to GH¢3 and now GH¢5, it had affected sales, “now we don’t get customers like before. Can’t you see here has been very quiet?” she asked.

Others were of the view that the cost of production of the corn meal was very costly and difficult saying that was why the kenkey has been selling between GH¢4 and GH¢5 since 2017.

A seller at Tudu, Naa Dodua, said “from the mill to the one who will stir, the one who will mould, the one who will cook and the one who will remove from fire, all takes money depending on the volume of work, it is why the price has moved from GH¢2.

The maize meal is very difficult to prepare and if the seller bought the maize on credit it means she is going to reduce the size of the balls making them small”.

Kenkey house

However, the situation was different at the popular Kenkey house, a family business at Jamestown. 

The caterers told The Mirror that though pepper and maize had become expensive, they were going to serve pepper for free and maintain the price of a ball of kenkey at GH¢3. 

They said some sellers were already selling pepper but “we will never do that. We will serve pepper free”.

One of the caterers, Auntie Naa, explained that although they had customers who bought on wholesale to send abroad, they took into consideration their environment hence they didn’t have to make the meal expensive.

“With just GH¢10, you will be able to enjoy a ball of kenkey with fish and still get about GH¢4 change. It is only those who want to eat big who will spend GH¢50 on kenkey,” she said.

Kenkey Boutique Company Ltd at AdabrakaKenkey Boutique Company Ltd at Adabraka

She said the Ga meal was such that it had served families especially the poor, graduates and unemployed for years and as such, whether there was an increase in price of ingredients or not, it should be moulded in a reasonable size.

Ga Kenkey, she explained, was prepared by soaking grains of maize in water for about three days, before they were milled and kneaded with water into a dough.

Pointing at some of the dough, she said “ the dough is allowed to ferment for days before part of it is cooked and mixed with the uncooked dough and wrapped in maize leaves before being boiled again on fire”.

Auntie Naa said the business which was run by her and her siblings was a hand-me-down from their late mother who had sold kenkey for over 80 years in the area.

Maize chairman 

In a telephone interview with the Nkoranza Maize Chairman, Mr Opoku Johnson, he said maize was currently expensive because of the demand, so like “ we do in economics when the demand is high, supply is low.

A bag of maize is GH¢450, those who will fill it in the sack take GH¢30 plus lorry fare to Accra which is GH¢60gh a sack. That’s GH¢540”. 

He said it was important for kenkey vendors to compare prices in Nkoranza to that of Accra so they do not end up buying from Nkoranza when they could just buy at the Accra central market. 


Some patrons of kenkey told The Mirror that kenkey sellers were not just in business but had served the youth, served dreams and served the nation. Surviving in Accra involves learning how to eat one ball of kenkey a day.

A photographer known as Prof. said he could not explain what Ga kenkey does to him, “it boosts my inner feeling, l can’t explain. I eat it every morning. Pepper for sale? Never”.

A consumer, Yvonne Appiah Kubi, said: “I like Ga kenkey so much but pepper should never be sold just as soup with banku or fufu. It doesn’t make sense. In fact, it’s a criminal act”.

Another consumer, Ama Owusua, said she had to learn how to eat Ga kenkey to be able to “beat the economy. When l eat a ball in the morning, I am able to skip lunch. And if l eat it during lunch, l am able to skip supper”.

However, there were patrons who explained that even though they ate the kenkey, it wasn’t something they enjoyed because some balls were very hard to swallow and not well prepared.

A consumer, Blessing Kesinornu, said her love for the Ga meal reduced “to 30 per cent after l encountered one that was very hard to swallow”.

source: graphiconline

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