Shea Network Ghana (SNG), a multi-stakeholder non- profit organisation, has stressed the need for stakeholders to demonstrate commitment towards improving the weak policies and regulations affecting the governance of the shea sector as the absence of it has contributed to the slow growth of the sector.
According to the communique by the NGO on a baseline study of the Gender, Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Shea project from 2017 to 2020, though women have rights to collect the nuts and fruits from their husband’s farms, they are not given the rights to own a parcel of land with Shea trees.
This is affecting the sector thereby discouraging more of the rural women, thereby, affecting job creation opportunities.
The two and half years project, spanning September 2017 to February 2020, on the topic “Improving marginalised women’s rights to access and control Shea parklands to guarantee long term sustainable investment” was to increase the inclusion of women and excluded social groups into long term decision making on Shea parkland management for sustainable investment.
The study was also to help identify the reason behind stakeholder’s failure to demonstrate commitment to address the issues of the Shea sector as well as ensure increased inclusion of women in all segments of the value chain.
The National Coordinator for Shea Network Ghana Mr. Iddi Zakaria Batitoe in a response said, the project is to help increase the will of national authorities such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Office of the President to create space for conversations on Shea and issues of park-lands governance.
He said the women groups in the rural areas have been surviving from the Shea picking and processing and that the commitment of the stakeholder could go a long way to make the sector vibrant.
The inhibition, he noted has prevented the rural women in Shea nut picking from accessing the trees to invest in Shea agro-forestry practices such as conservation, farmer managed natural regeneration as well as bush fires management to protect the trees.
He therefore appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Office of the President to create space for conversations on Shea and issues of park-lands governance.
“We have been liaising with other partners to educate the women and traditional authorities on the importance of the economic Shea trees but lack of resources and finances have been affecting our activities, hence, the need for government to help address the challenges confronting the sector”, he said.