It is a busy Tuesday morning in Garu town, northern Ghana. Children are heading to school, most on foot while others ride gently on their bicycles. Men and women are riding motorcycles heading in different directions. Temperatures are at 30 degrees Celsius. Amidst all the heat and morning activities, a young lady riding on a tricycle stands out. The tricycle is branded Mariam’s special Zomkom. She is accompanied by a young lady and gentleman, wearing branded T-shirts written also written Mariam’s Special Zomkom. They make intermittent stops and sell some drinks to people stopping them on the busy streets. From the level of interaction, it is evident that people anticipate seeing the tricycle as it means a favourite drink is being delivered.
This nutritious beverage mainly popular in Northern Ghana is locally known as zomkom. Zom" means flour and “kom” means water. It is formulated by grinding sorghum then fermenting and sweetening it to into a ready-to-drink sorghum drink. This traditional beverage is becoming more and more popular as Mariam Special Snacks - the company manufacturing Zomkom - continues to expand its supply networks. Zomkom is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and calories. 24-year-old Mariam Asambo is the young entrepreneur behind the sorghum drink on the wheels, a dream that was inspired by her father who is a sorghum producer.
Growing up, I was actively involved in sorghum production since my father is a farmer. My interest increased further when I saw a potential opportunity in value addition of sorghum through processing to develop sorghum drinks, a beverage loved by most, if not all Ghanaians. Initially, I hawked small quantities by carrying them on my head then later bought a wheelbarrow due to increased demand. However, the demand was still more than my supply.