Africa to raise $65.5m to support Shea production – Official

No fewer than 21 African countries are expected to raise $65.5 million from public and private sources to support Shea Parkland Restoration Fund (PRF), an official said.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President, Ghana Shea Producers’ Association, stated this at the virtual launch of the Parkland Restoration Fund.

He spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2021 International Shea Conference and Global Shea Alliance’s 10th Anniversary celebration held in Ghana.

Alhaji Abubukar Bagudu-Kalgo, National Publicity Secretary, National Shea Producers’ Association of Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.

Bawumia said the decision was part of ongoing efforts to ensure that shea industry would continue to play its significant role in the lives of people across 21 African countries.

He said that the PRF was launched in Ghana with the aim of promoting Shea Parkland across African continent, adding that the programme would be spread across the region from Senegal to South Sudan.

“The PRF is expected to raise $65.5 million from public and private sources to implement the Action for Shea Parklands – an initiative to grow 10 million shea trees and protect four million hectares of shea parklands.”

The vice president noted with satisfaction the economic importance and cultural roles played by the shea tree in the lives of people of Africa and the world, particularly in rural areas.

Bawumia, however, expressed concern over  indiscriminate felling of trees especially shea trees as well as destruction of shea parklands.

He said: “I am informed by industry experts that shea is a big sequester of carbon, saving the ecosystem in the environment where they grow.

“Despite this important role, it is sad to see trees cut down for various reasons such as charcoal for household fuel.

“Remember, Shea trees take at least 20 years to mature; therefore, cutting down one shea tree means destroying many years of work done.”

He stressed the need for Global Shea Alliance (GSA) to continue engaging stakeholders including government regulatory authorities, local chiefs, land owners, women collectors, communities and private sector to strive and achieve the objectives of the Action for Shea Parkland.

He added that the GSA, a non-profit industry association, had more than 30 countries contributing, since its establishment 10 years ago,  toward sustaining the shea industry.

“GSA is a non-profit industry association with 706 members from 36 countries including women groups, brands and retailers, suppliers, and NGOs.

“Through public-private partnerships, GSA promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards, and demand for shea in food and cosmetics,” he said. (NAN)