The market for sheanuts keeps booming, as the government no longer sets the floor price for sheanut purchases.
Businessmen and Sheanut Pickers have returned to active trade after government had stopped controlling the price of the commodity. National Coordinator of Shea Network Ghana, Iddi Zakaria said “once COCOBOD stopped announcing the floor price the market became vibrant. People could depend on the business for sustained livelihoods, taking care of their families. A lot more people are involved in the industry now than before,”
According to Mr. Iddi Zakaria, the situation has allowed for tremendous growth in the business as more Shea Pickers find it profitable to trade, adding that, the increasing number of women’s groups processing nuts into butter for export is testament to the vibrancy of the industry. A number of cooperatives currently process and supply premium unrefined Shea butter to multinational cosmetics companies such as Body Shop.
That translates into income for families and taxes as government looks to boost the tonnage of Shea exported from Ghana.
In 2011, the Ghana COCOBOD started announcing floor prices for Sheanut, a move which worried players in the Shea industry. Aaron Adu, Director of Africa Operations at the Global Shea Alliance explained.
‘It wasn’t helpful for the women groups nor for the buyers because Shea is not a traded commodity and so pricing depends on demand and supply. Fixing a price without regards to several factors that depend on the village level price was worrying so we spoke to BUSAC and they gave us a grant to carry out advocacy with the COCOBOD and all the other stakeholders involved to properly regulate this floor pricing problem’.
Global Shea Alliance carried out the advocacy, engaging the institutions involved in regulating the industry, the Ministry Of Food and Agriculture, the Ministry of Trade and COCOBOD. There were also advocacy training sessions for members of the alliance equipping them to engage authorities at different levels.
During the advocacy, COCOBOD established a steering committee to oversee the entire Shea business in Ghana.The Shea unit was also revived to oversee the work of the committee and the Shea industry, taking data on the activities of stakeholders in the industry and tracing Shea exports.
‘At the end of the exercise they did not officially quash the announcement of the floor price, they just stopped doing it. The last time they announced was in 2013, to some its good news allowing demand and supply to regulate the market and allowing the women’s groups and private sector partners to bargain and move the industry forward.’ Aaron Adu stated.
By Ama Kudjo