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We can further diversify the Nigerian economy through the Shea industry – Minister

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The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar has called on stakeholders in the Shea Industry to ensure greater diversification of Shea products so that producing countries can draw maximally from its benefits such as increased job creation and foreign exchange earnings which will translate to enhanced well-being of the citizenry.

The Minister made this call while delivering a keynote address during the 11th Annual International Shea Conference held in Abuja.

 The Shea Conference was organized by the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and National Shea products Association of Nigeria (NASPA) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Hajia Aisha pointed out that the Shea industry has served as a means of livelihood to about 400 Million of people especially women and youths across Shea producing and processing countries. She added that Shea export volume from producing countries especially, Africa has grown from over 350,000MT per annum which amount to about 600% increase compared to what it was 20 years ago. This, according to her has resulted in the annual income of over US200M for the Shear producing countries.

The Minister noted that the acceptance of Shear products in the USA and Europe as very important ingredients and raw materials for food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics underline the huge economic potentials of the industry. She therefore charged the stakeholders to consider measures that will ensure that their Shear products meet safety and quality requirements of the international market. Hajia Aisha urged them to seize the opportunity provided by the conference to form a common ground on the best approach to ensure the development of the sector. She also suggested that all stakeholders should consider bringing a Shea Global Agenda specifically for the Shea industry where a road-map towards the actualization of their target will be drawn.

Wife of the Nigerian President, Hajia Aisha Buhari who was represented by Hajiya Salima Makama in her goodwill message expressed happiness over the decision of the organizers to hold the conference in Nigeria and pledged her support to them.

In his address, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sanni Bello who was represented by the deputy Governor of the State, said his government is collaborating with development partners to empower its people in line with Federal Government’s policy to encourage business linkages between Nigeria Shea industry stakeholders and international buyers of the products. Governor Bello said this collaboration with partners like USAID has resulted in enhancement, training and the establishment of some cottage industries for Shear and other high value products.

Governor Sanni Bello added that Niger State Government is in the vanguard of establishing Shea butter villages with four already functional, and an additional one established by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC). The Governor added that talks were on with NIPC for an initiative to be tagged “Niger –Kebbi- Kwara (NKK)” to fast-track the development of Shea butter value chain. He stated that Nigeria, which is the largest producer of Shear accounting for 57% of Global Shea nuts production, derives the highest proportion of her nuts from Niger State.

Photo Credit: TheCable.ng

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