In Western countries “Shea” and “Shea butter” are popular ingredients used by the food and cosmetics industries. The increasing demand for natural products has pushed the global shea industry to grow by 600%[1] in the last twenty years, and it is expected to double again by 2025.[2]

In the “Shea Belt” which stretches across 21 countries on the African continent, the shea industry provides a critical source of employment and income to often poor and underserved communities.

In Ghana, the fourth largest shea kernel producing country in the world, Shea is an economic opportunity for nearly half a million women farmers. But although the world price and demand for shea butter are on the rise, individual local producers are facing difficulties, due to low volumes, difficult transport conditions and the uneven quality of their products. In addition, as Shea is a seasonal job, the income they receive often arrives too late to support them in their family and agricultural activities.

In Western countries “Shea” and “Shea butter” are popular ingredients used by the food and cosmetics industries. The increasing demand for natural products has pushed the global shea industry to grow by 600%[1] in the last twenty years, and it is expected to double again by 2025.[2]  In the “Shea Belt” which stretches across 21 countries on the African continent, the shea industry provides a critical source of employment and income to often poor and underserved communities.  In Ghana, the fourth largest shea kernel producing country in the world, Shea is an economic opportunity for nearly half a million women farmers. But although the world price and demand for shea butter are on the rise, individual local producers are facing difficulties, due to low volumes, difficult transport conditions and the uneven quality of their products. In addition, as Shea is a seasonal job, the income they receive often arrives too late to support them in their family and agricultural activities.

HOW CAN WE CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A LOCAL SUSTAINABLE shea sourcing

Having joined the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) earlier this year, Prang Agro Resources is committed to:

  • Promoting the preservation of Shea trees located within and around our concessionin the Bono East Region.
  • Promoting the growth and wellbeing of the shea Industry with our local and international partners.
  • Using our business knowledge and resources to create sustainable sustainable shea sourcing value chains.
  • Collaborating with local communities to improve health, safety and working conditions, notably by investing in processing equipment in proximity to remote locations.
  • Sharing our agricultural expertise to improve quality and reduce the environmental impact of local production.
sustainable shea sourcing

About Global Shea Alliance

The GSA is a non-profit industry association with 706 members from 36 countries including women’s groups, brands, retailers, suppliers, and NGOs. Through public-private partnerships, the GSA promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards, as well as demand for shea in food and cosmetics.

On one of my field trips, I had an encounter with the women in the village called Bomoden. I asked them the importance of shea trees surrounding them and they said they used them for firewood. This made me realise how little local people know about shea trees and their economic potential and inspired me to take action.

During the meetings with the Global Shea Alliance, Prang Agro Resources was introduced to two programmes that we strongly believe will empower and encourage the women collecting shea in the region.

These are GSA’s Shea Sustainability Programme which will aim to provide extra income for local women and Shea Park Programme which centres on shea tree planting reinforcing the shea sustainability programme.”

Kodwo Osei Sarfoh

Country Director, Prang Agro Resources

Shea Park Programme: PRESERVATION OF SHEA TREES IN BONO EAST REGION

The Shea Tree is a fruit tree that grows naturally in the wild. Locally known as the Tree of life, Shea has been used for thousands of years by the women in the region, for its health, wellness, and nutritional properties.

Nowadays shea trees are mostly found in agroforestry systems (called shea parklands) where trees are left to grow in cultivated fields. Some shea trees are also available in the surrounding forests, which are more difficult and dangerous for women to access.

sustainable shea sourcing

Prang Agro Resources – Agricultural Concession

Ghana and the Bono East Region is abundant in Shea Trees, however, practices such as felling shea trees to produce charcoal and lighting bush fires during the hunt for wild animals, have resulted in the loss of shea tree belts and low yields.

To preserve the precious trees, local officers from the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) are currently mapping and tagging all shea trees in and around Prang Agro Resources’ concession. This baseline study will enable us to prepare the next steps of the Shea Park Project which we are developing with the support of Global Shea Alliance.

sustainable shea sourcing

Shea Trees  – Mapping & Tagging

sustainable shea sourcing

GLOBAL SHEA ALLIANCE Sustainability Programme

The main livelihoods of the women in the region are farming and the collection of firewood, but their everyday duties also include taking care of their household and educating children.

For them, Shea is an additional seasonal activity and women usually control the upstream part of the value chain, from the collection of kernels to processing.

In order to further develop a sustainable shea sourcing value chain for local producers, Prang Agro Resources in collaboration with the Ghanaian Ministry of Agriculture (MOFA), is taking part in the Global Shea Alliances’ Sustainability Programme. Launched in 2014, the programme focuses on:

  • Warehouses/storage facilities for women’s groups.
  • Small business management training.
  • Health and safety initiatives/training.
  • Research and development of farming practices.
  • Parkland management training.

OUR COMMITMENT 

This project is part of Agri Resources Groups’ wider commitment to bringing consumers closer to producers; creating more value and opportunities for our local partners and securing better quality products, while minimising our footprint on the environment.

[1] According to a study by FAO & data from the Global Shea Alliance, published in July 2020.

[2] According to a study by the Global Shea Alliance published in 2017