Shea processors receive support to increase production

The Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), an international economic development organisation based in Canada, has signed a Matching Grant Agreement with 10 shea processing groups and enterprises under a cost sharing arrangement.

The Agreement, being implemented by the MEDA’s Farmers’ Economic Advancement through Seedlings (FEATS) project in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions, sought to advance shea butter production and improve their livelihoods.

The project, funded by Government of Canada, would improve the economic well-being of farmers in export-linked tree crops industries, by supporting the expansion and completion of existing, but stalled shea processing structures, establishment and stocking of new processing centres with storage facilities and equipment and building the capacity of shea cooperative executives to increase production of quality shea butter.

At separate ceremonies in Bognaayili, Bolgatanga and Wa in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions over the weekend, Mr Robert Austin, the Country Director of MEDA FEATS Project said the underlying philosophy of the project was to create business solutions to alleviate poverty.

He re-affirmed FEATS Project’s commitment to support women and small businesses to grow through “sustainable initiatives and partnerships that have the potential to outlive the life of the FEATS project itself”.

This, the Country Director believed, would be guaranteed, if local structures were put in place to support systems and ensure proper record keeping throughout the implementation of the initiatives.

“It is for this reason that MEDA FEATS Project actively engaged all beneficiary groups to arrive at the specific type of support each group or enterprise needed to improve their business and in effect, improve the livelihood of its members and their families,” he said.

The Matching Grant Agreement, a mutually beneficiary collaborative partnership, outlines targets for each stakeholder group.

Beneficiary shea processors will contribute up to 60 per cent of the cost with MEDA FEATS Project providing the remaining 40 per cent percent of the total cost.

A major condition precedent to the provision of the support by MEDA is acquisition of land by grant beneficiaries and the construction of processing centres.

The beneficiaries expressed their excitement during the ceremony, indicating that some enterprises and cooperatives had already acquired land and expecting the delivery of building materials by the end of 2019 to enable them to commence work early 2020.

The groups commended MEDA FEATS Project and Government of Canada’s efforts and commitment to improving the lives of shea processors.

Source: GNA

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