Women into shea butter production in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region are seeing a sharp rise in their incomes – shot up by about 200 percent.
They are now targeting the United States (US) and the European markets.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), that has been standing with the 244 women engaged in the processing of the shea butter and the 3,000 collectors of the shea nuts, every step of the way, and helped in the acquisition of the Finetrade Certification, has announced an additional support package of Ghs1 million to get them some required machinery to bring more efficiency and take out the drudgery.
Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, said it was too slow and tiresome, the use of bare hands at many stages of the shea butter production and that was something they were eager to assist to change to enhance efficiency and make it less energy-sapping.
She announced the support when she visited the site of the “Women in certified shea butter value chain” at Gumo, in the Kumbungu District.
The UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa spoke of the need to combine traditional and appropriate technology in the shea butter business, adding that, this was the path way to promoting inclusive and sustainable growth for rural economies.
That was how to lift many people out of poverty, tackle the growing unemployment and achieve decent work in the African continent.
She underlined UNDP’s total commitment towards helping indigenous women to sustain and mainstream traditional practices in business into the modern development process.
This was something, she said, they were determined to do through empowerment and direct support to the women.
She identified the Shea Parkland Project as one of such approaches to sustain the shea butter business – support women to earn sustainable incomes to significantly improve their livelihoods, contribute to the family budget and the upkeep of their children.
Ms. Eziakonwa called for African governments to put in place the necessary policy instruments, provide technological support, trade and direct technical support to women to enable them to expand their businesses and become economically empowered.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, said they were going to build on the solid foundation laid to break the cycle of poverty – create wealth and jobs for the people in the region.
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