Story: Vincent Adedze, Sagnarigu
THE Japanese Grass-roots Grant for Human Security Project (JGGHSP) has provided $85,833 to support a shea butter project inaugurated in the Northern Region early this year to empower rural women in the industry.
The funds are to help improve on the activities of the women to store, produce and market high quality sheer butter all year round.
The project was facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDO) with support from its partners like the Africa 2000 Network and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The facility, estimated at $245,927, is operational in Sagnarigu in the Tamale metropolis and Walewale in the West Mamprusi District over a two-year period (2007-2008).
Briefing media practitioners on the project in Tamale on Thursday, the Communications Officer of the UNDP, Mr Iddrisu Siddiq, noted that the project had so far made significant progress and expressed optimism that it would ultimately reduce poverty among the beneficiary women.
“The project has been able to raise the enthusiasm of the women producers through enhancing their entrepreneurial skills. The project has also heightened public awareness by generating news about the shea butter industry,” he said.
He further indicated that through the project, about 345 women had benefited directly from the production training manual, adding that a water reservoir, a residue pit and two urinals had been constructed in the two beneficiary communities.
He said such a measure would eventually contribute to “consistent production of quality shea butter”.
“The project looks forward to engaging partners who have technologies, finances and marketing opportunities for multiplying the impact which can contribute to empowering rural women and alleviating poverty by strengthening the local shea butter industry in northern Ghana.”
The Executive Director of Africa 2000 Network, Madam Adisa Lansah Yakubu, observed that the project identified the marketable quality of shea butter, as well as helped to explore new markets for shea butter sales promotion.
According to her the intervention was timely because of the deprived nature of the region and the high poverty levels among women in northern Ghana.
She, therefore, entreated the beneficiary women to take the project seriously to enable them to earn decent incomes to support their respective families.