The Akuafo Hall at the University of Ghana has new canteen operators going by the brand name Village Canteen.
Village Canteen which was officially unveiled on Friday, April 12 is an initiative of Zayall Enterprise and according to brains behind the canteen; the new eatery has ultra-modern equipments which aid in the preparation and preservation of food and beverages at the Akufo Dining Hall to serve the student population with eyes on the larger Ghanaian market.
Chairman for the occasion and legal notable, Yoni Kulendi revealed Chief Executive Office of Village Canteen; Marcus Selassie had worked with Ecobank Group for over a decade serving as the Audit and Compliance Executive.
He said he was delighted Selassie with an MBA background and his corporate experience has ventured into the food business especially having had a stint himself as an operator of a supermarket and eatery while a student at the university.
“Food is that important underlined by breastmilk (food) given babies after birth to fortify them. Akuafo Hall is privileged to have been elected as the place he’s chosen to put his investment in,” Kulendi submitted.
He further stated: “For years, Sudanese leader; Omar Hassan al-Bashir was powerful and despite international warrants issued for his arrest defied authority by travelling but when price of bread went astronomical high, his people booted him out of power.”
Director of Village Canteen and Vice President of Citizens Bank in the US, Edem Avotri expressed happiness over the birth of the eatery which took over two years of planning and negotiations to get here.
“Very few people pay attention when a lion is born but when it matures and becomes powerful, people pay attention,” Mr. Avotri noted adding “village canteen is destined to become the Lion of Food Service in Ghana.”
When it got to the turn of the banker, auditor and gospel minister to share his thoughts, Mr. Marcus Selassie explained Village Canteen is a dream fulfilled adding it’s taken friends who share the same vision to birth the eatery.
“Village Canteen will serve clients traditional local meals often consumed in the villages but out of reach of city dwellers alongside continental dishes,” Mr. Selassie revealed adding the vision of Village Canteen is to create the biggest food court and food chain out of Africa while the mission is to serve the student population on campus and beyond.
Offering of Village Canteen include fufu with soup, banku and fish, fried rice with chicken, jollof rice with beef, pastries, wraps, freshly squeezed fruit juice, pasta as well as local brews like ‘sobolo’ with ginger and ‘asana’ as well as pizza which is soon to join the list.
Curiously with as little as GHc5 the Village Canteen folks assure that one can enjoy a meal noting there’s food for any pocket.
Akuafo Hall Master, Dr. George Akanlig-Pare extolled the virtues of the hall dedicated to Ghana’s farmers.
He recalled in 1948 while the British Colonial Government opted to set up the Ibadan College at the expense of one in the Gold Coast, J.B Danquah together with other Ghanaians determined to have a university in the Gold Coast mobilized farmers to generate the seed money to birth the Gold Coast University College.
He noted Akuafo is the second hall of residence after Legon Hall which is named after the area the university is situated at stressing the Akuafo Hall was named after Ghana’s farmers to acknowledge their immense financial contribution to erect the institution of higher learning.
“The first batch of students to the university were 190 and all male in 1955. They enjoyed three square meals a day with tea interludes with the first females joining the university during the 1991/92 academic year,” Dr. George Akanlig-Pare declared.
Extolling further the positive attributes of Akufo Hall, Hall Master Dr. George Akanlig-Pare submitted the hall balances its academic and sports duties beautiful resulting in successes it’s chalked on both fronts adding Akuafo Hall has been adjudged the Most Beautiful Hall, Best Sports Hall for four consecutive years.
He however urged Village Canteen managers to roll out a plan which will see students pay in advance for their meals at discounted rates while the canteen makes sure it maintains the quality of the meals served.
“The student cook poorly and when they can’t consume the meals throw them into the toilet bowl clogging the drains and serving as ready source of meals for rodents who then cause mischief requiring frequent fumigation so with Village Canteen, there’s a source of reasonably priced and nutritious meals the student can resort to enabling us enforce the no cooking in the hall rule. Again their entry will also help reduce cost of power bills generated as the students cook with electronic appliances since they are not allowed to cook with gas,” the Hall Master made known.
Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture; Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi who was special guest mentioned in line with the Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana, See Ghana, Drink Ghana and Think Ghana campaign, it was opportune that Village Canteen folks have decide to showcase and shine light on Ghana’s traditional meals at the institution of higher learning for those negligent of the country’s offerings to become accustomed to the many varieties the country has.
The former Royal Dutch Shell company lawyer mentioned that when private business and the state partner, good things can emerge noting with the Village Canteen (private enterprise) and the state joining forces the students are better off while generating employment and possibly generate profit for expansion.
“It is positive to hear Village Canteen folks say they have meals for those on special meal regimes such as diabetics and those suffering from hypertension as going for right meals is no longer a choice but a necessity.”
The Prestea-Huni Valley Member of Parliament said government will play its part in raising the tourism sector to compete competitively and stimulate domestic tourism as well as draw in foreign exchange.
In session for the unveiling was Zayall Enterprise Executive Director, John Samlafo-Doe, Yara Ghana Limited’s Danquah Addo- Yobo, Junior Common Room (JCR) chief Nyansakuku Addo Danquah, Mr. Samir Helwani of Mastermix Production, CEO of Capitano Oil Company, Dr. Oppong Mensah, GnG Plant Head- Felix Amegasitse, Kofi Sriboe of Cross Energy, friends from the police force, gospel act-Mawueta Israel, JCR Queen Mother of Akufo Hall; Nana Ama Dokua 1, Emefa Kulendi and the Abibigroma Group.
By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com