Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, CEO, GEPA
GHANA’S EXPORT revenue from Shea products are expected to increase by over 900 per cent within the next decade as government works to implement a series of interventions outlined under the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) for the Shea industry.
The NEDS anticipates an increase in Shea revenue from a projected US$123 million in 2020 to US$1.121 billion in 2029.
Shea, together with 16 other products, have been identified as priority products that could jointly contribute US$25.3 billion to Non-Traditional Export (NTE) revenue in the next decade due to their huge potential for market growth and export.
Data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the lead implementing agency of NEDS, has shown a drastic year on year growth rate of the commodity over the last three years which has cumulatively contributed over US$45 million to NTE.
An amount of US$4.027 million was earned from Shea export in 2017 while a growth of 250.19 per cent was recorded in the subsequent year with earnings of US$14.103 million in 2018.
In 2019 however, revenue increased by 92.79 per cent as US$27.190 million was earned from Shea export.
Despite the enormous potential for growth, the industry is seriously challenged locally and internationally with myriad of problems that have over the years threatened the commercial viability of the commodity.
Diminishing stock of wild Shea trees due to indiscriminate felling, weak bargaining power of producer groups, inability to increase shea harvesting output, difficulties in switching from wild cultivation to shea plantation development and lack of investment in shea cultivation and processing are some challenges that have hindered the growth of the industry.
Interventions have therefore been designed under the national strategy to, among other things, enact and implement legislations that will protect trees and regulate Shea harvesting, improve civil infrastructure such as feeder roads in production areas, and also support local groups and companies in processing operations and distribution networks.
Initiatives have also been designed to supply needed tools and facilities to improve nut collection in the wild from 40 per cent to 80 per cent, provide incentives for establishment of tertiary level processing factories and also intensify outreach programmes to provide technological knowhow on shea processing.
Other initiatives include undertaking marketing mission to secure purchase contract for end products, capacity building projects for producer groups to become competitive and have strong bargaining power and also programmes to provide coordinated purchasing activities and product certification.
By Issah Mohammed