The Green World Initiative (GWI) an NGO has constructed a 1,500 metric ton capacity sheanut warehouse for women co-operatives in Kaleo and its adjoining communities in the Nandowli-Kaleo District.
It would boost their Shea business and improve their economic status.
The Fuji Oil Ghana Limited funded the project while the USAID provided additional funding of about $15,000 through the Global Share Alliance (GSA) for the beneficiaries to be trained on co-operative development, business development and Shea nut aggregation to help enhance their business skills.
The Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative was under the “Sustainable Shea Initiative (SSI)” project and was expected to benefit about 1,500 women in the beneficiary communities, which included; Gbankor, Ombo, Kaluri, Bo and Kaleo.
A similar facility had been constructed at Naro for women cooperative in the area and the women are expected to aggregate premium quality Shea nuts to supply Fuji Oil Ghana Limited for industry use.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at Kaleo to commission the facility, Mr Ronny Voorspools, Managing Director of Fuji Oil Ghana Ltd, said they needed about 40 million kilograms of Shea nut a year to fractionate into Shea butter and Shea sterien for the production of chocolate.
He said the company would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and a contract with the women to supply Fuji Oil Ghana Ltd with Shea nuts for the first year.
Mr Voorspools said the effective operation of the warehouse would help provide direct employment for the women and the facility would enhance effective handling and storage of Shea nuts, which would also enhance Shea nuts trading between the company and Shea collectors.
Mr Wisdom Doe, Programmes Manager for GWI, said the project would improve the livelihood of the women who engaged in the Shea value chain.
“They will be able to aggregate their Shea nuts, and by the involvement of Fuji Oil, they will get pre-financing at the beginning of the season and that will cushion them if they face any financial difficulty”, he explained.
He added that with the training offered the women it would enable them to process premium quality Shea nuts, which would give them good market.
“The warehouse belongs to the women, so during off-season they can use it to store grains and other products for other people and charge a fee”, Mr Doe added.
Madam Cecilia Shardey, the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager of GSA, urged the women to develop positive working relations with Fuji Oil Ghana Ltd so as to have a long standing trade relation.
Madam Shardey also encouraged the men to support the project to help maximise its potential benefits to the community.
Madam Leticia Naa, the Leader of the Kaleo women co-operative, commended the benefactors for giving women in the area a sustainable livelihood. She also entreated the beneficiaries to uphold the project to make it a success for the benefit of generations to come.