US$65m initiative to protect shea parklands

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched the Parkland Restoration Fund (PRF) as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the shea industry continues to play its integral part in the lives of people across 21 African countries, stretching from Senegal to South Sudan.

The PRF is expected to raise US$65.5million from public and private sources to implement the Action for Shea Parklands – an initiative to grow 10 million shea trees and protect 4 million hectares of shea parklands.

The virtual launch of the Parkland Restoration Fund was performed at the opening ceremony of the 2021 International Shea Conference and Global Shea Alliance’s 10th Anniversary celebrations held on Tuesday, 27th April 2021.

Recalling the very important economic and cultural roles played by the shea tree in the lives of the people of Africa and the world, particularly in rural areas, Vice President Bawumia expressed worry about the cutting down of shea trees and destruction of shea parklands.

He noted: “I am informed by industry experts that shea is a big sequester of carbon, saving the ecosystem in the environment where they grow. Despite this important role, it is sad to see trees cut down for various reasons such as charcoal for household fuel. Shea trees take at least 20 years to mature”.

He added that: “Cutting down one shea tree means destroying many years of work done”. He entreated the Global Shea Alliance to continue engaging stakeholders – including government regulatory authorities, local chiefs, land owners, women collectors, communities and the private sector – to strive and achieve the objectives of Action for Shea Parkland.

Global Shea Alliance

The Global Shea Alliance, a non-profit industry association, has members across more than 30 countries who have contributed since its establishment 10 years ago to sustaining the shea industry. The GSA is a non-profit industry association with 706 members from 36 countries, including women’s groups, brands and retailers, suppliers, and NGOs. Through public-private partnerships, the GSA promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards, and demand for shea in food and cosmetics.