Tamale, Sept 15, GNA – The West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), a €120 million European Union (EU) funded project, adopted under the 11th EU Development Fund (EDF) Regional Indicative Programme, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has boosted shea production and marketing in Northern Ghana.
The project, through funding and capacity-building support to shea pickers, processors and marketers has seen a significant increase in production, packaging as well as market extension.
This was made known to Mr Irchad Razaaly, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, when he toured Small Scale Enterprises, who were beneficiaries of the project in the Northern Region.
Mr Razaaly visited shea processing and packaging and cosmetics shops in Tamale to assess their progress and challenges as beneficiaries of the four-year project.
The beneficiaries of the project shared successes in their products and enterprises, which resulted from the project’s interventions.
Mr Kumadey Churchil, the Director of Churchwin, a shea and other African commodities production and marketing company, said the company received capacity building in packaging and marketing, which propelled it to sell products on Amazon and Walmart.
He said WACOMP’s intervention, through capacity and network building, had increased the company’s monthly sales capacity from $50 to $15,000 selling online, adding sales increased by about $1000 every month.
He said, “Prior to the support, we had no brand. We were basically exporting raw shea butter to people with brands, who packaged and retailed. We initiated the process to get onto the global market but got stuck until WACOMP came in with a series of networking sessions that opened up space for us to get onto the market.”
Madam Safia Alhassan, Head of Production at the Pagsum Shea Pickers and Processors Centre at Sagnarigu, said funding support from WACOMP had improved shea production as well as projected the women of the centre to a level worth emulating.
She said the centre had been producing a grade of organic shea butter that consumers wanted, which had widened the customer base both nationally and internationally.
She noted that until the assistance from WACOMP, production volume and quality at the centre were very low, adding that, production had increased from about four tonnes to over 20 tonnes every month.
Mr Charles Kwame Sakyi, Chief Technical Advisor of the WACOMP, said the project was aimed at adding value to shea butter to meet the quality required in the domestic and international markets, as well as enhancing the competitiveness of the country’s economy.
He said the project was focused on building competitiveness of selected value chains such as cosmetics, personal care products and fruits for exports, strengthening marketing capacity as well as connecting SMEs to financial institutions.
The beneficiaries shared some challenges they were faced with in the business, which included certification difficulties as a result of financial instability and the inability of their products to penetrate the European market.
The EU Ambassador to Ghana, however, assured them of the EU’s unflinching support to ease the difficulties, commending the SMEs for working hard to project shea and other Ghanaian products to the world.
Source: Ghana News Agency