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Catherine Krobo Edusei faced skepticism when she introduced locally grown herbs to a Ghanaian supermarket in Accra two decades ago.

In a country like Ghana, where imported dried herbs were the norm, fresh herbs were a novel concept. Today, as the CEO of Eden Tree, her company has evolved into a major supplier of not only fresh herbs but also spices, fruits, and vegetables.

After returning to Accra from the UK in 1996, where she worked in banking, Krobo Edusei embarked on her entrepreneurial journey. She wanted to be a hands-on mother for her children and sought an alternative to the formal sector. Despite having no background in agriculture, her prayers led her to establish Eden Tree.

Catherine Krobo

The initial spark came from her pursuit of aloe vera cultivation, which turned into a revelation about the potential for cultivating vegetables and herbs. Unable to find the herbs she was accustomed to in London, Krobo Edusei started growing herbs herself. 

She began by using her own savings and leasing land for cultivation, later expanding to various regions of Ghana. The challenge of funding persisted, and it took several years before she could pay herself a salary. Nonetheless, she persisted and maintained her profits for business growth.

She packaged her products in a way that mirrored international supermarket standards, catching the attention of a local supermarket manager. Despite his initial doubt, the fresh herbs quickly sold out, becoming popular among expatriates. 

Krobo Edusei expanded her offerings by partnering with local farmers, offering soft loans to improve production. Eden Tree’s success hinged on bridging the gap between smallholder farmers and supermarkets.

The company’s growth continued with additional business channels, including packaged produce, convenience foods, and fresh fruit juices. However, challenges like changing work culture and cash flow persisted. 

Private equity investment in 2015 helped Eden Tree professionalize and expand, and the company now supplies multiple supermarket chains in Accra.

Catherine Krobo at the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) event in 2022

Looking ahead, Krobo Edusei aims to bring Eden Tree products closer to local consumers through branded stores and a chain of small shops. She’s also part of the Ghana Green Label scheme, aiming to boost consumer confidence in locally grown foods. 

Despite the challenges of being a woman in business in Ghana, Krobo Edusei’s passion for her venture and the joy of growing food have kept her motivated for over two decades.

By Elijah Christopher 


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