Shea Butter and Nuts: SAMCERT joins forces with the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP)
The SAMCERT programme undertook a Scoping Mission to Northern Ghana in May 2013, under the auspices of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), focusing on the shea sector. The mission included meetings with the project management unit (PMU) of the NRGP, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) staff, representatives of state bodies, producer representatives, private companies, academics and traders.
SAMCERT subsequently submitted recommendations to NRGP/IFAD aimed at buttressing the NRGP’s role in developing “income-generating agricultural activities supplementing subsistence farming” in Northern Ghana and identifying relevant markets for Ghanaian shea nuts and butter.
One of the recommendations was the organisation of a study mission to the Fédération Nununa in Léo, Burkina Faso to learn more about the organisational strategies and production/post-production innovations introduced successfully there, in part through the support of the Centre for International Development and Cooperation (CECI).
A study mission was organised together with SAMCERT for 12-15 September 2013. The mission included NRGP specialists Ms. Amina Alhassan Bin Salih (Gender), Mr. Paschal Dere (Value Chains) and Mr. Dela Sipitey (Environment), SAMCERT Coordinator David Cuming and 9 Ghanaian shea producers.
The objective of the study mission was to learn more about: a) the Nununa Federation’s history of organisational development, which has lead to a high level of diversified market access and autonomy; b) the organisation’s harvesting methods and post-harvest processing techniques, including innovations in shea processing equipment; and secondarily c) to meet with private companies operating in both the shea and baobab sectors in Northern Ghana.
The mission constituted a valuable learning experience for both the NRGP PMU and the Ghanaian shea producers. The mission highlighted how short, targeted visits to colleagues in other countries who are in engaged in the same value chain, can provide valuable learning experiences. Indeed, the Ghanaian producers returned home energised and motivated (“gingered”, accordingly to one participant) by what they had seen and learned in Burkina Faso.
In particular, the producers went away with both valuable reminders with regard to best practices for shea harvesting and processing, as well as new ideas for the organisation of the work of their respective organisations. Moreover, due to the innovative nature of the work of the Fédération Nununa, several ideas for improved processing techniques and equipment were shared with the mission participants.
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