Stakeholders call for framework for sustainable shea development
Stakeholders in the shea sector have called for a sustainable shea development strategy to transform the economy in northern Ghana.
They said shea was one of the potential cash crops and if developed would help lift people out of poverty to meet Ghana’s middle income status ambition.
This was contained in a communique issued and dubbed: “Setting the Pace for coordinated action in the shea industry”, at the end of a two-day forum in Wa on Thursday.
SNV-Netherlands Development Organization and Oxfam UK, both non governmental organizations, organized the forum for representatives of more than 50 actors in the shea industry.
It was aimed setting the agenda for a well structured collaboration among actors in the sector.
The actors said an estimated 95 per cent of families in rural setting in northern Ghana derived their livelihoods from the crop.
They said more than 600,000 women in northern Ghana depended on the sale of shea products for their livelihoods, with the income used to enhance food security and paying for essential services.
The stakeholders said its production has also become increasingly profitable and it gave the country 33 million dollars annually through export.
The communiqué called on government and civil society organisations to improve clarity and coordination over the different stakeholders and their role in the shea value chain to enhance equal share of income generation and a more sustainable development of the shea industry.
“We are not only committed to the growth of the shea industry, but we are also committed to growth that supports national initiatives of poverty reduction”, the actors said.
They urged the government to pay more attention to the development of northern Ghana through the development of cash crops, especially the shea industry, which has the potential of changing the lives of more than one million women.
“The shea resource, the life line for many women in the north of Ghana, must obtain the same level of support that other sectors are gaining,” it said.
They urged government to come out with regulations that would provide the necessary environment for growth in the shea sector that would benefit all.
They also suggested to government to use the findings from the Wa forum and other findings that had been carried out on the development of the shea and establish a secretariat and consult civil society to develop a shea board.
They urged government to make export prices of the crop available to producers through the media as done to cocoa, gold and oil and also increase its investment to support the construction of warehouse and drying and processing facilities.
Efforts should be made to get cooperative structures establish so as to development associations to partner national and international buyers as well as involving donor community to support government initiatives on shea.
The actors recommended the generating of a market impetus to serve as the main catalyst for stimulating production with improved technology and timely market information to help development the sector.