Stakeholders urged to modernise shea industry

The 12th International Shea Conference was on Monday opened in Accra with a call on stakeholders to work towards transforming the shea industry into a modern, resilient, lucrative, socially equitable and sustainable commodity industry.

Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Minister for Trade and Industry who made the call said there was the need for industry players like financiers, processors, logistics providers, exporters, and development partners to work individually and collectively to transform the industry.

The three-day Shea International Conference, is being attended by key players of the global shea family within the West Africa Region to review progress and chart new pathways to promote sustainability, quality, practices and standards.

The Conference is jointly organised by the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and Shea Network Ghana (SNG) with support from the EXIM Bank Ghana and would end on March 13, 2019.

The sector Minister commended the women collectors whose toil had relentlessly efforts had carried the industry very far and called for their full inclusion and participation in the shea value chain.

Mr Kyeremanten said Ghana currently, had five processing factories with more than 150,000 metric tons installed capacity, adding that, there were also three fractionation plants and the “only shea butter refinery plant in Africa”.

The Ministry in collaboration with participating financial institutions, is in the process of supporting the private sector to establish manufacturing plants including medium to large scale agro-processing factories, to boost value addition.

Instructively, five semi-industrial processing facilities are coming up in northern part of the sheanut belt of Ghana, all by private sector investors.

Madam Stephanie S. Sullivan, the United States Ambassador to Ghana said the Shea industry had been one of the promising industry to be explored by stakeholders.

She said the United States strongly supports President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of promoting a Ghana beyond Aid by making US and Ghanaian businesses a long term, sustainable as well as mutual relationship.

Madam Sullivan said her country remained committed to the success of the shea industry because American consumers were creating market demands.