Indian demand surges for shea, coconut oil


India’s interest in the country’s shea butter and coconut oil is on the rise with high market demand for the two commodities, the Ghana-India Trade Advisory Chamber (GITAC) has said.

The Chamber’s president, Dominic Oduro-Antwi – speaking to B&FT at the 5th anniversary media lunch of GITAC, said though cashew has been India’s leading import, constituting almost 80 percent from Ghana, attention in the last few years has been shifted to shea butter and coconut oil coming from the country.

“This is not surprising to the Chamber; as Ghana has the best quality of Shea from Africa, it is only right that most Indian traders would want to acquire the commodity from here,” he noted.

Ghana exported a total US$90million worth of Shea butter and its derivatives (circa 55,990 tonnes) to 24 countries in 2018 according to GEPA. Malaysia was the largest market destination for Shea butter from Ghana with imports of the product at about US$31.9million, as India is not a traditional export destination for the commodity.

The recent interest from India is a huge opportunity for exporting SMEs, Mr. Antwi said as he outlined key bilateral events to mark GITAC’s 5th anniversary this year.

The global Shea butter market is estimated to reach US$2.9billion by 2025. Europe accounts for more than a quarter share of the global market, with the product mainly used in the food and cosmetics industry.

Data from the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) indicate Ghana is the largest exporter of unrefined Shea butter in the world, though the country is ranked fifth-largest producer on the continent.

According to the GSA, Ghana has the most developed Shea processing sector in Africa, with around 94 million shea trees in the country which produce around 60,000 tonnes of Shea nuts a year.

“This is the time for Ghanaian SMEs to focus attention on Shea exports to India and make the most of it. Importantly, GITAC is collaborating with manufacturers to design coconut-oil extractors for the local industry here; and to also deepen medical tourism prospects between the two countries,” Mr. Oduro emphasised.

Established in 2018, GITAC is the first business Chamber to extend its branches to different countries worldwide. The Chamber has offices in 18 countries, enabling Ghanaians and Indians living in those countries to still do business.

The Chamber also empowers young people in ICT, education, agribusiness among others.

Activities to mark GITAC’s 5th anniversary

Activities earmarked for the anniversary include a media engagement on Ghana-India bilateral relations, and an educational fair comprising over 15 universities from India between February 22 and 24.

In the month of March, GITAC will launch the Global Africa Trade Advisory Chamber for the Asian Region in Dubai. In April, the Chamber will embark on a trip to India for selected sectors of the economy. There will be a global Africa networking event in May as well as a Health Fair in June.

The organisation will host a Technology Fair in July and a Maternal Healthcare music festival in August. The anniversary climax comes with an agribusiness fair in September and a grand dinner for all stakeholders of the Chamber.

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