‘Shea butter policy’ll boost export, create jobs’

June 20, 2019
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A policy document on shea butter production will create more jobs and increase exportation of the product, the Federal Government has said.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Sunday Akpan, spoke during the presentation of the draft policy document on shea butter in Abuja, during the week.

He said the government was working towards ensuring that Nigeria stopped the importation of Shea-based products like vegetable oil, soap and other cosmetics.

Akpan, represented by the ministry’s Director, Department of Commodity Produce and Inspectorate (CPI), Mrs. Omololu Ope-Ewe, said Nigeria will build a virile shea hub.

According to him, the shea hub will take the country to a point where she will be exporting high quality shea butter and other products instead of exporting the raw nut, which yields nothing.

“The policy will enable thousands of Nigerians to find new opportunities in shea business and engage millions in both direct and indirect jobs for wealth creation,’’ Akpan said.

According to him, the country must evolve new strategies to gain market access for shea products.

He said Nigeria needed to agree on the right method that would attract and stimulate new and sustainable investment in the shea sector.

Read Also: ‘We empower rural women through Shea butter production’

Akpan added that the National Shea Policy would guide, regulate, protect and support stakeholders in the sector.

“Nigeria accounts for about 57 per cent of global shea supply, producing about 400, 000 metric tonnes yearly.

“It is, however, disturbing that more than half of the total quantity produced is unaccounted for due to poor post-harvest handling.

“Others are lack of modern processing equipment, low investment, lack of innovation, research and development,” Akpan said.

The Deputy Director, Commodities and Products Inspectorate Department, Mr. Napoleon Abalaka, said the challenges of the sector had been non-improvement on production and processing methods.

Other challenges include lack of credit for expansion and handicap in producing high quality products for global export.

He, however, said the policy document would encourage investors who would be willing to put their hard earned money in the sector.

According to him, most investors were not willing to invest in the sector because of the absence of a protective mechanism and safety net that would meet their expectation in Return on Investment (RoI).

A representative of Management Strategy Advisory Limited, Mrs. Funmi Ilamah, said Nigeria lacked a solid structure and plantation to boost the sector.

According to Ilamah, the country produces 75 per cent of shea while it exports only 10 per cent of it.

She said the sector was faced with issues like lack of domestication and cultivation of shea trees in Nigeria.

She, therefore, advocated for improvement on the production of shea through research and development of resource management.

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