The United States Ambassador, Stephanie S. Sullivan, Wednesday commissioned a shea butter processing facility and warehouse for the Tiyumtaba Women’s Shea Cooperative of Sorogu, in the Sagnerigu Municipality in the Northern Region.
The facility will increase incomes for 600 Ghanaian women who collect and process shea nuts.
The new facility is part of the U.S. Government’s effort to partner with communities, companies, and non-profit organisations in West Africa to expand economic opportunities for women.
A statement issued by the Public Affairs Department of the Embassy, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, said The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) developed the facility in partnership with the Burt’s Bees brand, owned by the American manufacturer, The Clorox Company, and the Ghanaian firm Savannah Fruits Company.
Ambassador Sullivan, the statement said, applauded the project partners, stating, “The opening of this shea processing and warehouse facility is an important accomplishment that demonstrates what is possible to achieve when we all work together”.
Shea is a primary source of livelihood for women living in northern Ghana and is one of the few agricultural crops where women control their revenue.
“This project affirms the U.S. Government’s commitment to promoting women's economic empowerment through partnerships that connect Ghanaian women producers with U.S. buyers,” Ambassador Sullivan stated.
“USAID is working with the Global Shea Alliance, communities, non-profit organisations, and responsible companies, who together since 2016 have provided 250 warehouses, generating increased incomes for more than 137,000 women across West Africa”.
The Global Shea Alliance’s Sustainable Shea Initiative was launched in 2016 in partnership with USAID.
The $18 million, the five-year program promotes the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso.
The partnership matches USAID funds with private sector and development partner funds to provide needed skills training and infrastructure to support women shea collectors.
The USAID/West Africa regional mission’s goal is to promote social and economic well-being advanced by West Africans. Spanning 21 countries, USAID/West Africa designs and implements programs with West African partners to strengthen systems of non-violent conflict management, support economic growth, and expand quality health services.
“The American people, through USAID, provide economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide aimed at promoting a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience,” the statement said.