The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) wants the country to replicate the success of its quality standards for cocoa in the shea sector to multiply gains.
Acting Director-General of CRIG, Dr. Francis Padi, has thus called for the development of quality standards for shea production to position Ghana’s produce as a premium and preferred choice globally, Business & Financial Times reported.
Dr. Padi explained that Ghana leads the world in premium quality cocoa because the nation committed to developing a quality end-product, hence if the country wants to raise shea to that top-level there is a need to develop standards for shea butter and kernel to attain quality end-products.
Nigeria is currently the world’s leading producer and exporter of shea nuts followed by Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Uganda.
The CRIG boss is convinced that the surest way for Ghana to leapfrog the competition in the shea sector is by improving on standards.
“We need to develop standards for the butter and kernel; if producers know that we have the highest quality Vitamin A-enriched butter from Ghana, they will be willing to pay a premium price for the butter and the kernel that we produce in this country,” he opined.
“So, first and foremost, we need to focus on the quality standards on the end-product so that investors will be willing to establish plants and plantations to get the kernel to produce and meet the unique end-product that shea kernel is known for,” Dr Padi added.
He was optimistic the newly established Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) would lead the way for the sector to develop similar standards such as COCOBOD has for the cocoa industry.
He added that CRIG is committed to working hand in hand with TCDA to achieve this critical requirement of the shea industry as well as the other tree crops.
He made the comments when at the Akyem-Tafo base of CRIG when officials of Savannah Golden Tree Limited (SGTL) visited on a familiarisation tour to apprise themselves of the Institute’s operations and foster partnerships on how best to develop the shea industry and add value to the raw product.
Data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) shows the country exported US$90million worth of shea and its derivatives in 2018 alone – a figure the country wants to double by 2023.
But Dr. Padi believes that putting in place quality standard measures and adhering to them will enhance the country’s ability to achieve this target.
The Chief Executve Officer of Savannah Golden Tree Limited, organisers of World Shea Expo, Rashid Zakaria, commended CRIG for the massive research support it is giving to the shea industry.
He indicated that his outfit will also partner with the Institute to collectively develop the sector into becoming a leading destination in the world of shea business.
Currently, the country either exports the raw shea butter to European markets or makes use of it for domestic purposes like shea butter for food or pomade.
However, CRIG has outlined a number of products it developed from shea and is seeking investors to commercialise them for local and international consumption.
Market-ready products developed by CRIG include shea jam and wine, shea butter soap, pomade, cream and lotion.
Shea butter has been used to enhance the moisturising effect of the local soft soap (Alata Samina), otherwise called Africa black soap.
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