Ghana to set up Shea Development Board

Shea nuts - a valuable natural resource in the north

Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday announced that the government, in collaboration with stakeholders in the Shea industry, would this year set up Ghana Shea Development Board to oversee the growth and development of the sector.

The Board, he said, would be responsible for the recommendation of Shea standard prices and carry out effective research into the processing and marketing of the produce throughout the country.

Vice President Mahama who announced this during the West African Shea Conference held in Accra said the Board would also educate the Shea picking and processing societies to become conscious of their rights and responsibilities in the industry.

The conference, which attracted participants from 27 African countries and partners from the United Kingdom, United States of America and Malaysia, would among other issues educate patrons on the improvement on the quality of their produce, sourcing of funds and how they could collaborate to come out with finished goods in their various countries.

Vice President Mahama said the government would provide motorized tri-cycles for the women to facilitate their movement and haulage of their shea fruits from the picking centres to the processing areas.

He said the government would also set up two shea butter industries in the Upper East and Upper West regions to complement the one being constructed at Buipe in the Northern Region.

Mr Donald Teitelbaum, the US Ambassador in Ghana, called on all shea nuts producing countries in Africa to make maximum use of the opportunity to increase their shea production to make them global reserves of the produce.

He said although cocoa production started in the South American and Carribean countries, Ghana and the Ivory Coast are now the leading producing countries in the world and any loss of concentration could equally give the opportunity to other continents to take over in shea production.

Mr Teitelbaum called for the establishment of shea industries that would come out with finished products rather than concentrating on their current major role of exporting only shea raw materials.

Mr Samuel Annan, the Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, said Ghana earned over $30 million annually from shea which is also benefiting about two million people throughout the country.

He said the government would make shea marketable and profitable to encourage many more Ghanaians to participate in its processing and production.

Madam Eugenia Akwetey, Chief Executive Office of Shea Alliance, said her outfit would in the next years create a sustainable, dynamic and competitive industry by strengthening advocacy and research components in the continent.

Source: GNA

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