A Shea Butter Processing Facility and Warehouse has been inaugurated at Gizza-Gunda, a community in the Kumbungu District, to help women shea collectors and processors in the area to improve on their operations.
The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), supported the construction of the processing facility and warehouse, which will benefit 600 women involved in the sector in the area.
Madam Stephanie Sullivan, United States Ambassador to Ghana joined government representatives, shea industry players and community members at Gizza-Gunda to inaugurate the facility.
Ambassador Sullivan said “this event highlights efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment through partnerships that connect Ghanaian women producers with U.S. buyers”.
She said “the United States supports key projects like this to promote economic growth and job creation so that young people may build a future of prosperity here at home for the benefit of all citizens and their communities”.
The partnership to develop the Shea Butter Processing Facility and Warehouse was catalyzed by USAID and the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and included partnerships with a U.S. cosmetics company, a local buying company (Savanna Fruits Company), Presbyterian Agricultural Services, and the local community as part of the Sustainable Shea Initiative (SSI) project.
The SSI, launched in 2016 by USAID in partnership with the GSA, is an $18 million, five-year partnership to promote the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, and Burkina Faso.
The partnership matches USAID funds with private sector and donor funds to provide needed skills training and infrastructure to support women shea collectors.
The Gizaa-Gunda facility is one of 34 warehouses that USAID and GSA have launched with communities and cooperatives in Ghana over the past three year thereby expanding opportunities for 30,000 women.
Ambassador Sullivan said “The United States looks forward to finding more opportunities over the next years to partner with companies, communities, and non-profits to drive new opportunities for Ghanaians and promote a path to self-reliance and resilience.”
Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, Northern Regional Coordinating Director, commended USAID for its support for the shea sector in the country saying the facility would make great impact on the lives of the women shea collectors and processors in the area.
Mr Raphael Gonzalez, Managing Director of Savanna Fruits Company, said the facility would empower women economically as they would produce more for export assuring that efforts would be made to build their capacity to achieve more in the industry.