A new shea butter processing plant, equipped with modern machinery, has started operation in Tema.
The factory was established by Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC), the oils and fats business speciality of Bunge Limited, a leading international agribusiness, and food company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The plant is the biggest of its kind in Africa, according to BLC.
It is a fully automated solvent fractionation plant that processes raw shea butter made from locally collected and crushed shea nuts into two major products — shea olein and shea stearin.
The shea stearin is processed in the company’s facilities in The Netherlands, Malaysia, USA, and Canada to produce ingredients used in many food and non-food applications such as the equivalent of cocoa butter used in the chocolate confectionery.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic yesterday, the General Manager of the company in charge of West Africa, Dr. Antoine Turpin, said BLC was happy to be part of the story of Ghana’s shea industry.
He explained that the BLC, which had been engaged in the shea business in Ghana for some time now, decided to enter into the processing industry to add value to the product and employ the youth and professionals.
Dr. Turpin commended the government of Ghana for the support the company had received in its operations, and added that the investment climate in Ghana had been very positive.
Last Monday, BLC issued a press statement announcing the opening of the factory.
“Currently, the facility provides employment to 73 people from mostly the local community. Its strategic location not only allows for a more efficient production process; it also delivers on BLC’s commitment to building a more sustainable supply chain for shea,” the President of BLC, Mr. Aaron Buettner, said in the statement issued in Wormerveer, The Netherlands.
The statement added that the company’s latest investment in Ghana played a critical role in strengthening BLC’s global infrastructure for processing and supplying high-quality shea products to its customers around the world, while bolstering the entire ecosystem of regional crushers and local shea collectors in West Africa.
“The facility allows us to meaningfully support and empower the local shea communities through the transfer of knowledge of value-adding processes and by investing in local skills development. We are proud to join forces with local communities to help build and advance the African shea industry together,” the statement added.
It said the company had also launched a campaign dubbed ‘Where Life Grows’, meant to celebrate the company’s efforts to build a resilient and sustainable shea supply chain in Africa.
It is meant to empower women who collect shea nuts, create socio-economic value in their communities, conserve and regenerate the shea landscape in the region.