Date: July 14, 2011, 5:16 pm


A STATEMENT PRESENTED BY ISODEC TO A PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE LAUNCH OF THE SHEA RESEARCH ON RE- ORGANIZING THE SHEA INDUSTRY TOWARD POVERTY REDUCTION IN NORTHERN GHANA


 

Friends of the media, our development partners and stakeholders, ISODEC staff,

As part of ISODEC’s mandate of catalyzing development and advocacy on the North by mobilizing local, national and international opinions on the plight and potential of the North, ISODEC commissioned a study on how to re-organize the Shea Industry as a means for poverty reduction. The study was supported by OXFAM GB.

  The purpose of this gathering is to high light the key findings of the study and share the findings with key stakeholders: The research showed that;

  1. The Ghana shea Industry holds a huge potential for contributing significantly to the reduction of rural poverty, particularly in northern Ghana;
  2. There is no coordination of the numerous efforts to assist sheabutter pickers and processors in northern Ghana despite the existence of support programmes offered by various Non-governmental organisations; 
  3. There are numerous improved methods and technologies which if up-scaled on a national level can lead to higher quality and quantity production and improve the prices offered for sheabutter produced in Ghana;
  4. There is a high capacity to transform most of the sheanuts in Ghana into sheabutter for export, thereby adding value and obtaining higher incomes at all levels of the shea value chain; 
  5. A disturbance of the existing sound liberal marketing and development scenarios in the shea industry by unsound policy and intervention could jeopardize the current gains made in the development of the shea industry; 
  6. Both the mechanized systems and the manual systems of production of sheabutter have sound potentials for enhancing the role of the shea industry in rural poverty reduction if investment in the primary product (sheanuts) is sustained with strong linkage to buyers and markets as exemplified by some companies already on the ground. 
  7.  We should adopt technologies for the transformation of the semi-wild shea tree populations into a high value cultivated industrial plantation crop.  These technologies are available and simple and can easily be introduced to farmers to enhance their adoption.
  8. Government should improve on the small-scale extraction methods to enable more efficient extraction. Such an approach will enable the retention of value addition through increased shea butter extraction by women. It will also enhance access to niche markets such as the organic and fair-trade consumers abroad. Small-scale extraction methods also produce sheabutter with comparatively higher stearin content. Such butter is preferred by many importers abroad. However, the highly mechanised factories can still co-exist with the small-scale processing methods through linkages with communities that wish to maintain supply to the increasing quantities demanded on the international markets. The factories also have a capacity to purchase shea butter from the small-scale processing groups and use their high level technologies to add value further by other activities such as reduction of moisture content. The factories may also offer services such as quality analysis for local producers. 
  9. The creation of a separate shea board is essential for the rapid development of the shea sector of the economy in Ghana. An independent marketing board for shea is needed to provide co-ordination and leadership in the shea sector, particularly as regards, co-ordination of activities of stakeholders, development options, information sources and conflict management. It can also promote research, educate, promote and market shea butter through licensing and standards regulation that will ensure buyers can get a known quality

10    .Marketing should be improved through the value chain approach by adding value to the product and taking advantage of the expanding market of the ECOWAS. Developing new products such as body lotions, improved produced soaps and pomades will further contribute to the creation of a sub-regional market for sheabutter

     11. There must also be a policy that will enable the strengthening of the local producers’ capacity to produce at quality and quantity, by building up their skills in business management and bargaining skills, and providing rural infrastructure that will reduce overheads in nut collection, both at the primary and secondary levels.

 Conclusion:

We therefore appeal to Government of Ghana and all key stakeholders particularly the SADA secretariat to consider these recommendations as a way of improving the Shea sector for it to realise its full potential.

We are indeed happy that government has already shown some initiative to improve the sector with the recent commissioning of the Buipe shea nut factory; however we still need to consolidate the gains already made through a holistic approach to the sector.

 ISODEC will continue to provide technical support in the sector through its research and advocacy Programme to ensure that the industry develops to its highest potential. We will continue to engage with key stakeholders and government in the industry.

 ISODEC will like to express its gratitude to OXFAM GB for the financial support that enabled us to carry out the research as well as the dissemination of the report. We will like to thank other stakeholders (Dr. Joshua Yidana of UDS) and our development partners SNV, SEKAF and all those who provided us with information on the shea industry



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