Shea Business Empowerment Project has been launched to empower women groups in the shea value chain in the northern part of the country.
The project, which was undertaken by Global Shea Alliance (GSA) in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, formed part of the sustainability programme of the GSA to empower women shea collectors and the need to protect the ecosystem.
An estimated 50 women cooperative groups would benefit from the project while about 90,000 women shea collectors would be transformed into shea cooperatives to work as women-led small businesses.
Mr Aaron Adu, Managing Director of GSA, speaking during the launch in Tamale, said “the project is aimed at providing targeted capacity building for the cooperatives, facilitating access to finance and leverage digital technologies for traceability and market linkages.”
Mr Adu said, “under the project, private sector buyers including Nuts for Growth, will be linked to each cooperative so that they can buy the products directly, which will help improve their income generation.”
He said, “As part of the project, third-year students from the University for Development Studies will be attached to each cooperative as interns to provide additional support as the cooperatives begin to operate.”
Madam Rosy Fynn, Country Manager of MasterCard Foundation said the shea value chain was dominated by women, which presented an opportunity to reduce poverty and address systemic barriers that limited young women in the sector from reaching their full economic and social potential.
She said, “through this partnership, we are fostering collaborations among experienced ecosystem actors to strengthen the value chain and encourage them to transition their informal ventures into viable and sustainable business enterprises, which will automatically create a positive effect on their families and communities.”
Mrs Dora Haborsutei Torwiseh, Chief Executive Officer of Nuts for Growth said the project would help create job opportunities for women shea collectors and processors with a particular focus on attracting young women by addressing key industry barriers such as access to financial services for cooperatives and Small and Medium Size (SMEs) business capacity building as well as digitisation.
She emphasised that the project would also serve as a package to provide livelihood and increase income generation.
Madam Virginia Palmer, United States Ambassador to Ghana said, “through the USAID, West African Trade and Investment Hub, the United States Government is supporting Nuts for Growth in its upcoming factory launch, which seeks to create about 300 jobs and help an additional 20,000 women to improve on Shea and Soya production.”
Madam Palmer said whilst the United States Government provided support to increase production, the MasterCard Foundation would bring on board a digital tool to improve the possibility of shea and soya production adding “Together, we are creating a more resilient women-based supply chain, stronger and sustainable trade between the two countries.”
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister commended GSA and partners for the initiative and pledged the government’s commitment to implementing initiatives that guaranteed the growth and development of women.
GSA and partners later donated 100 tricycles to the various cooperatives to facilitate their activities.