Ghana earns $30m annually from shea industry

Vice President John Dramani Mahama had said the shea industry is an attractive business earning about 30 million dollars of foreign exchange for the national economy.

The sector, he said, has the potential of tripling the amount when the industry is fully developed.

The business engages more than 900,000 women in the three Northern regions, who collect over 130,000 tonnes of dry nuts annually.

The Vice President was addressing a multi stakeholders’ forum, in Tamale, on Friday, in a speech read by the Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr. Haruna Abdulai.

The forum was organized by Send Ghana, SNV and Oxfam, all NGOs, under the theme: “Shea; an economic resource for poverty reduction, a multi-stakeholders’ approach,” and aimed at sharing ideas and charting a common platform to promote the shea industry.

Mr. Mahama said the industry benefits close to two million poor people, about 95 per cent of whom are rural households, adding that, the government was aware of the challenges that limit the full exploitation of the potential of the sector.

He called for a joint government-private and civil society action to expand and ensure lucrative markets, reduce price instability and increase investment capital.

The Vice President said the collaboration could provide appropriate processing equipment and a strong research that would improve the yield and reduce gestation period of the shea.

It would also improve the management of the shea resource to ensure its conservation and sustainable exploitation.

He said the government, through COCOBOD, had supported the cocoa, coffee and shea nut farmers to provide protective clothing such as Wellington boots and hand gloves to improve picking.

“Government will continue to do this through the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and the Northern Rural Growth Programme,” he added.

Mr. William Agyapong Quittoo, Research Manager on Coffee and Shea of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said the government in 2006/07 undertook some steps to revamp the shea industry by supporting market outlets.

He said COCOBOD also secured 10 million dollars to build a shea factory at Buipe and the company is likely to start operation in February next year, adding that, a similar intervention was ongoing to construct another shea factory at Bole.

Source: GNA

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