Ms Stephanie Sullivan (middle), the US Ambassador to Ghana, being assisted by the Kpalsogu Naa (right) and Hajia Mary Naab Alhassan (left), leader of the women’s cooperative, to cut the tape to inaugurate the facility
Ms Stephanie Sullivan (middle), the US Ambassador to Ghana, being assisted by the Kpalsogu Naa (right) and Hajia Mary Naab Alhassan (left), leader of the women’s cooperative, to cut the tape to inaugurate the facility

Sorogu gets shea processing centre

The Shea butter industry in Northern Ghana, last Wednesday, received a boost with the inauguration of a new shea processing centre and a warehouse for the Tiyumtaba Women's Shea Cooperative at Sorogu in the Sagnarigu Municipality of the Northern Region.

An initiative of the United States (US) government, it would help to increase the incomes of about 600 women of the cooperative who are into the collection and processing of shea nuts into butter in the area.


With the inauguration of the centre, the women will no more go through the laborious methods of processing the shea nuts into butter. It will also increase their production capacity to meet the demand of the local and international market for shea butter.

The construction of the facility was funded by the US government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Other partners in the initiative are the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and the Presbyterian Agriculture Services, both non-profit organisations with resources from Savannah Fruits Company and Burt's Bees, companies committed to women’s empowerment.

Hajia Mary Naab Alhassan (left), Team Leader of the Tiyumtaba Shea Women's Cooperative, briefing Ms Sullivan (middle) on the kneading process


Inaugurating the facility, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, said the facility would empower the women by providing them with the needed space to safely store and process kernels, while creating a one-stop marketplace for direct sales to commercial buyers in US and other markets.

"This initiative extends beyond Ghana. Drawing on this public-private partnership model, USAID is working with the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), communities, non-profit organisations, and responsible companies, who, together, since 2016, have provided 250 warehouses that have generated increased incomes for more than 137,000 women across West Africa," she stated.

"That is income we know women will put back to work in their communities, investing in the health, education, and success of their children and families," she added.

Shea parklands

"As we invest in shea cooperatives and communities, we also seek the communities' continued partnership to protect the shea trees and parklands to secure the sustainability of the shea industry for our children and the generations that follow," the US Ambassador said.

Ms Sullivan further urged all stakeholders, especially women and the community leaders, to continue to be advocates to ensure the success of the facility and preserve the natural resource base of the shea for the future.

The Managing Director of the GSA, Mr Aaron Adu, announced that as part of efforts to protect the parklands, the GSA had designated July as the shea month and would mobilise about one million stakeholders in eight countries across West Africa to plant about 10 million shea trees on July 6 this year.

He, therefore, called on all stakeholders in the industry to support the effort to promote, plant and protect the shea parklands.

The initiative

Mr Adu said since the launch of the GSA sustainability programme in 2014, it had, with the support of the USAID, donated almost 200 warehouses and formed cooperatives around the warehouses benefiting 160,000 women shea collectors across seven countries in West Africa.

He added that several shea butter processing centres had also been constructed, which included the facility at Sorogu.

That, he said, was a demonstration of how the shea industry was empowering women in West Africa, adding that across seven countries in West Africa, GSA members and USAID were working to improve the living conditions of rural communities and preserve the local ecosystem.

"At the heart of the work of the GSA is the women collectors who are approximately 16 million in 21 countries in Africa and about 600,000 in Ghana," he stated.


The team lead of the Tiyumtaba Shea Cooperative, Ms Mary Naab Alhassan, on behalf of the group, thanked the US government and its partners for providing them with the facility.

She said before the construction of the facility, members of the group undertook the processing of the shea on individual basis, which was not commensurate enough and expressed the optimism that the provision of the centre would go a long way to improve their livelihoods and reduce the time constraints as well as the tedious processing of the shea butter.

The Chief of the community, Kpalsogu Naa, Abukari Niendow, also expressed his appreciation to the US government for the facility, which he indicated would provide more economic opportunities for the women and their families in the communities.

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