Acting Director-General for the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Dr. Francis Padi, has called for the development of quality standards for shea production just has been done for cocoa to make it premium and preferred choice globally.
According to the research institution head, cocoa developed mainly because the nation focused on quality of 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.
With Nigeria being the leading producer and exporter of shea nuts in the world – followed by Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Uganda, he believes the surest way to overtake them is our ability to improve on our standards and make it the preferred choice globally.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Dr. Padi hinted that he is banking hopes on the new government-established Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) to provide the sector with 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 said this to journalists who were taken on a field trip to the Akyem-Tafo base of the CRIG by Savannah Golden Tree Limited (SGTL) to be familiarised with the institute’s operations, and foster partnerships on how best to develop the shea industry and add value to the raw product.
According to data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghana exported a total of about 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 CEO of Savannah Golden Tree Limited – organiser of World Shea Expo, Rashid Zakaria, commended CRIG for the massive research support it is giving to the shea industry; and indicated that his outfit will also partner 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, the CRIG has outlined a number of products it developed from shea and is seeking investors to reach out for the recipe to produce on a large scale. Among these are: 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) as well.