The Global Shea Alliance (GSA), in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has launched a $13 million Shea Sustainability Initiative to promote and sustain initiatives for Shea in seven West African countries.
The initiative will focus on women’s empowerment such as constructing warehouses for women shea collectors, business development services, parkland management and conservation pilot projects as part of efforts expand shea markets worldwide and improve sustainable production.
USAID will provide $6.5 million and GSA will provide a matching fund of at least $6.5 million to implement the initiative in the seven West African countries namely; Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
At the launch of the initiative in Tamale, Madam Mary Hobbs, the Director of USAID West Africa Regional Economic Growth Office, said: “Investing in and supporting the growth of the shea industry is one means of helping to improve incomes for women and their families across the Sahel, hence the Shea Sustainability Initiative”.
She said GSA would liaise with 25 private sector partners and up to 250 women’s shea co-operatives to implement promotional and sustainability activities in the beneficiary countries focusing on women’s empowerment and protection of shea trees.
Mr Moumouni Konate, the President of GSA, expressed optimism that the initiative would help to improve incomes as well as health and safety of shea collectors.
Mr Kenneth Wujangi, a Deputy Chief of Staff in-charge of Operations at the Office of the President, who represented the Government, described the shea industry as robust saying government had been supportive of the industry to add value to the produce for improved incomes.
He said the Shea Sustainability Initiative was in line with government’s efforts to develop the shea industry adding that government would, in the next few years, build 10 warehouses for the shea industry in Ghana.