GHANA –  The United States Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Madam Stephanie Sullivan has presided over the opening of a new shea butter processing and warehousing facility at Sorogu in the Sagnarigu Municipality of the Northern Region.

The new facility, meant for Tiyumtaba Women’s Shea Cooperative, will provide the needed infrastructure to add value to the commodity in the area and will improve the incomes of 600 women, who collect and process shea nuts in the area.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) developed the facility in partnership with Burt’s Bees, an American company, and the Savannah Fruits Company, an indigenous firm.

The partnership matches USAID funds with the private sector and donor funds to provide needed skills training and infrastructure to support women shea collectors.

Madam Stephanie Sullivan, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, applauded the project’s partners saying, “The opening of this shea processing and warehousing facility is an important accomplishment that demonstrates what is possible to achieve when we all work together.”

Shea is the primary source of livelihood for women living in the northern part of the country and it is one of the few agricultural crops where women control their revenues.

The project, therefore, affirms U.S. Government’s commitment to promote women’s economic empowerment through partnerships that connect Ghanaian women shea producers with U.S. buyers.

Ambassador Sullivan said “USAID is working with Global Shea Alliance, communities, non-profit organisations, and responsible companies, who together, since 2016, have provided 250 warehouses, generating increased incomes for more than 137,000 women across West Africa.”

She emphasised that “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”.

Mr Raphael Gonzalez, Managing Director of Savannah Fruits Company said the facility would increase incomes for women, who picked shea nuts for processing in the area.

The project is part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to partner communities, companies, and non-profit organisations in West Africa to expand economic opportunities for women.

According to Ghana web, the project is in line with the Global Shea Alliance’s Sustainable Shea Initiative.

The project was launched in 2016 in partnership with USAID to promote the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.