COCOBOD to support research on shea nut industry
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has hinted of plans to sponsor students to conduct research on shea nut production to enable the board to adopt innovative ways of developing the shea industry in the three regions of the north
The research will help identify varieties of shea tree species with short gestation period just as cocoa and also develop innovative ways of processing shea nuts to meet international standards.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, who disclosed this at the inauguration of an office complex for the shea industry in Northern Ghana in Tamale, said the government would invest in the shea nut industry to help create more jobs to alleviate poverty in the area.
The office accommodation, according to the chief executive, would be the rallying point for the development of the shea industry in Ghana through the entire shea supply value chain ranging from research, plantation to processing.
Aidoo said the future of the country's shea industry lay in the continuous existence of the shea trees, thus the need for all and sundry to protect the shea trees and also plant new ones.
“The shea is sacred in northern Ghana just as the cocoa is sacred in the southern sector and we must protect the trees to be able to develop the shea sector to create more jobs for the people of Northern Ghana, particularly, the teeming unemployed youth and women,” he advised.
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According to the chief executive, the sector deserved the same attention as the cocoa industry for which reason the COCOBOD was supporting the shea sub-sector with financial and technical support towards the production, sale processing of shea nuts in the country.
Aidoo further stated that plans were underway to get a board solely for the sector to superintend the shea industry in the country.
“Today, we had a steering committee meeting as part of the road map to get a board for the shea sector, right now we have only a unit and it has made a tremendous effort and developed a strategic document, which is before the COCOBOD board of directors for review and possible approval for the constitution and inauguration of the board,” he said.
For her part, a Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Northern Development Authority (NDA), Madam Lariba Zuwera, said the COCOBOD’s intended development of the shea sector in Northern Ghana was in line with the government development agenda.
She gave an assurance that the NDA would support the COCOBOD in its development drive to improve on of the people.
Madam Zuwera, however, appealed to chiefs and people in the area to protect and plant more shea trees.