President John Dramani Mahama has promised to build two new sheabutter processing factories in the Upper East and Upper West Regions to help add value to the commodity, improve livelihood of the rural poor and increase revenue for the country.
President Mahama said initiatives with Sheanuts and other workable measures will be the only sure ways that will reverse the trend of poverty among women especially in the rural northern region.
“Although the introduction of producer prices for Sheanuts demanded collective efforts from member states, government will continue to push for better deals for the Ghanaian women to live decent lives through the commodity,” he told members of the Global Shea Alliance during a three-day 9th international conference in Accra which brought together participants from Ghana, Senegal, Guniea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The Global Shea Alliance (GSA) is a non- profit industry association with 390 members from 30 countries including women’s groups, brands and retailers, suppliers and non-governmental organisations. Through public-private partnerships, the GSA promotes industry, sustainability, quality practices and standards and demand for Shea in food and cosmetics.
President Mahama assured that government will work around the clock to eliminate the numerous middlemen that operated within the processing stage of the crop, leaving the women at the mercy of hazardous conditions during the picking levels.
He added that middlemen were depriving the women of a chunk of the fruit of their labour as the long chains dwindled their fortunes.
Mr. Moumouni Konate, President of GSA, indicated that nearly two billion Shea trees grow naturally on parklands in 21 countries stretching from Senegal to South Sudan and that 16 million women living in rural communities individually collect the fresh fruits and the kernel, which they processed to extract a healthy vegetable oil known as sheabutter.
Mr Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Minister for Trade and Industry, commended the leadership of GSA for organising the conference that seeks to promote the usefulness of Shea in different values.
He pledged to offer all the necessary support that would empower the Association to step up its penetration into the international markets.
Mr. Bukari Tijani, Assistant Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organisation, gave the assurance that his outfit would support all programmes that would be harnessed under Shea to empower women and encouraged women to take advantage of the opportunity at all levels of the process to enrich themselves.
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