The Second Lady, Hajia Samira Bawumia, has launched the 2024 World Shea Expo in Tamale in the Northern Region. The initiative spearheaded by the Savannah Golden Trees Ltd aims to raise awareness about the lucrative international market for shea, bolster foreign exchange earnings, generate employment, and foster prosperity, especially for the women who are at the industry’s core.

Hajia Samira in an address during the inaugural event delivered on her behalf by former Sagnarigu Municipal Chief Executive, Mariam Iddrisu, said the Expo symbolizes the collective effort to elevate the shea industry to new heights, ensuring that its benefits are widely shared and sustained over time.

“As we savor this inaugural event of the World Shea Expo, I reflect on the multifaceted impact that this gathering represents. Firstly, it is a testament to the power of unity and collaboration. By bringing together diverse stakeholders, from local communities to international partners, we create a formidable force capable of driving significant change” the Second Lady stressed.

She asserted that support for the shea sector is growing, with significant contributions from government agencies, such as Cocobod, Tree Crops Development Authority, GEPA, Eximbank, Development Partners, NGOs, and private enterprises.

However, Hajia Samira said more institutions must join this effort to fully unlock the potential of the shea industry, stating by addressing policy issues, overcoming investment challenges, and fostering greater collaboration, we can create an enabling environment for shea investment.

According to the Second Lady, the shea industry is more than an economic engine; adding it is a vehicle for social transformation.

She noted that by empowering women and youth, “we address some of the most pressing issues in our society – poverty, inequality, and unemployment. The skills, opportunities, and income generated through shea production contribute to more resilient and vibrant communities, where every individual has the chance to thrive.”

“Thirdly, the environmental dimension of the shea industry cannot be overstated. In an era of escalating climate change, sustainable practices in shea cultivation and processing are critical. By protecting our natural resources and promoting reforestation, we ensure that future generations inherit a planet that can continue to sustain them” she added.

The Executive Director Savannah Golden Trees Ltd, Chief Adams Tampuri, said the theme, “Nurturing Growth, Empowering Communities” aligns perfectly with vision for the World Shea Expo. He indicated it emphasizes sustainable development, community empowerment, social inclusion, economic empowerment, and environmental sustainability.

Chief Adams highlighted the Expo aims to create positive change, uplift communities, and ensure the long-term viability of the shea industry.

“Savannah Golden Tree Ltd, founded in December 2018, is committed to advancing the Shea Value Chain in Ghana, across Africa, and on a global scale. Our mission is clear: to recognize the efforts and contributions of distinguished women and youth in regions where shea nuts are produced, using this Expo as a platform for economic emancipation.

“Our vision is equally ambitious: a thriving and booming shea-nut sector that leads in entrepreneurship, investment, poverty alleviation, and wealth creation, contributing significantly to Ghana’s economic development” he explained.

The Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Shani Alhassan Shaibu, for his part lamented the age-long challenges bedeviling the shea industry in the north saying something drastic should be done to make the industry attractive for investment.

The Minister said hitherto, the shea industry was reserved for women who hand-picked the shea nuts and processed them into the shea butter using traditional knowledge passed down over generations.

However, he called for support for these women with new technologies and effective methods of processing as well as a fair price for their products.