Districts have no bye-laws to protect shea trees

Shea treeA study by the Shea Network Ghana has discovered that most districts in northern Ghana where shea trees grow, do not have bye-laws to protect and conserve that resource.

The study has also found that there is no conserved area for undisturbed harvesting of sheanuts in northern Ghana.

It was conducted early this year following concerns of drastic reduction in the population of shea trees in northern Ghana.

Mr Francis Chimsah, Board member of Shea Network Ghana, who presented the findings of the study at a stakeholders’ forum in Tamale, said financial constraints and the lack of legal experts at the district assemblies were among the reasons for not putting in place the right legal framework to protect and conserve shea trees.

Stakeholders who attended the forum included members of the Shea Network Ghana and representatives of some of the district assemblies in the three northern regions where shea trees are located.

Shea trees are a source of livelihood for most rural women in northern Ghana, who rely on shea nut processing to take care of their families.

Mr Chimsah said the study also identified the lack of political will on the part of the relevant authorities to pass bye-laws to protect and conserve shea trees.

The recommendations of the study included the need for district assemblies and local authorities in northern Ghana to work together to conserve shea trees.

The study also recommended the need for district assemblies to work to protect other economic trees since they were important to the livelihood of rural dwellers.

Mr Chimsah said there was also the need for community education on the existing legal framework in some of the district assemblies to protect and conserve economic trees.

Mr Iddi Zakaria, Coordinator of Shea Network Ghana said the Network would use the study to engage district assemblies and other stakeholders to work together to protect and conserve the shea tree.

He urged others engaged in the shea industry to join Shea Network Ghana to champion the interest of the industry.

Mr Senyo Kpelly, Chief Executive Officer of Sekaf Ghana Limited, an indigenous cosmetic company which uses shea butter products, said studies had confirmed the medicinal value of sheanuts, adding that it was also nutritious.

Mr Kpelly called for proper management of natural resources as part of the national development effort.

Source: GNA

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