Pro Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies, Professor Seidu Alhassan, has stressed the relevance of developing the Shea industry as a solution to rural poverty and also helping in achieving sustainable development in Ghana.
He stated that, knowledge on the economic relevance of the shea industry could guide government in the implementation of the 1 district 1 factory policy which is aimed at promoting job creation and improving income for rural people.
He added that both the sustainable development goals and the Africa Agenda 2063 highlight poverty reduction hence developing the Shea industry will address such gap and create opportunities in rural areas.
Delivering the 5th inaugural lecture of UDS, which was under the theme “the Shea tree, our heritage; Sustaining Ghana’s Shea Industry,” Prof. Seidu Alhassan opined that, Ghana cannot achieve the SDGs mantra of ‘the road to dignity for all by 2030,’ unless serious efforts were made to guarantee the continuous existence of trees, particularly economic tress like Shea.
Enumerating the relevance of the shea industry to the Ghanaian economy, he said 175 million US dollars is estimated to be the annual earnings from the sector comprising of exports of raw nuts and processed butter.
Prof. Seidu Alhassan however mentioned the lack of comprehensive data, a decline in Shea tree population, poor quality of Shea products and the absence of a clear policy direction for the sector as major challenges facing the Shea industry.
The lack of data and policy direction he stated largely deter potential investors from knowing the economic returns on the investment in the sector.