We need to do more to preserve Shea trees – Burkina Faso’s Environment Minister

By
Rashid Mbugri, GNA

Nyankpala (N/R), Sept. 13, GNA – Mr Batio
Sassiere, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Green
Economy, has called on stakeholders in the tropical zones to help preserve Shea
trees and enhance their value.

He said this would help prevent loss of Shea
agro-forest parklands and its degradation and improve on productivity in the
Shea sectors of the society.

He made the call during a regional knowledge
dissemination workshop in Nyankpala dubbed: “Shea Parkland Productivity
Transforming Shea -Women’s Gold into Cash, Jobs and Resilient Sustainable
Development”.

The two-day workshop, organized by the World
Bank Group, sought to educate and disseminate the key finding on Shea parklands
from a World Bank study.

The study was titled: “Leveraging
Agricultural Value Chains to Enhance Tropical Tree Cover and Slow Deforestation
(LEAVES)” to stakeholders in the northern region and other African
countries.

“Shea is one of the valuable tropical
resources and it is ‘Gold’ that should be preserved,” Mr Sassiere said.

Mr Sassiere urged stakeholders to come out
with meaningful policies that would enhance regional and sub-regional
integration to promote knowledge sharing, inter-institutional support and
technology.

Prof Gabriel Ayum Teye, the Vice Chancellor of
the University for Development Studies (UDS), proposed that citizens should
make it a point to educate each other on the need to preserve the Shea trees to
enhance resilience and food security in Africa.

He urged researchers to study more on how to
improve on the growth of economic trees not just Shea alone so that they could
be harvested within a shorter period between three to five years.

Ms Dora Nsuwa Cudjoe, a Senior Environmental
Specialist at the World Bank Group, said the workshop was also aimed at
improving productivity from a standpoint of providing sustainable jobs for
women and the youth in the ecological landscape.

Ms Cudjoe, in a presentation on the LEAVE
study, said Shea agro-forest parklands in Africa, traditionally managed by
women and youth with over 16 million shea collectors in 21 countries, were
under increasing threats in terms of climate change and poorly managed crop
programmes.

She said if this is not enhanced and
sustained, there could be significant displacement and forced migration of
people from the parklands.

Ms Cudjoe said the LEAVES study highlights
that agriculture could be a part of the solution to slowing the degradation and
clearing of tropical forest and to enhance tree cover in agricultural and
degraded landscapes.

“To achieve this, policies, initiatives
and actions would be needed to transform value chain for commodities such as
coffee, cocoa and share butter that comes from tree-based systems,” she
said.

Mr Almami Dampha, the Senior Policy Officer of
Forest and Land Management of the African Union Commission, said the
sustainable management of the tropical resources including shea butter and
other forests products is critical to the attainment of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) to improve the livelihoods of Africans.

He called on all stakeholders to help build an
Africa, which is peaceful and progressive in order to achieve the objectives of
the Agenda 2063.

Mr Salifu Saeed, the Northern Regional
Minister, said Government of Ghana sees sustainable and resilient landscapes as
critical to minimize trade-offs between sectors, reduce migration and
conflicts, enhance the resilience of livelihoods  and implementation of the SDGs.

He said improving on the productivity of the
Shea agro-forest parkland would boost jobs and economic opportunities for women
and the youth as well as promote food security.

Mr Sagre Bambangi, the Deputy Minister for
Food and Agriculture, said limited attention is being given to Shea as compared
to cocoa and this has made production quite a challenge.

He said there is the need for more advocacy to
enhance the efforts of the sector.

GNA

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