The Federal Government has said it will ramp up efforts to boost the capacity of shea nut farmers in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, disclosed this recently during a two-day Shea Capacity Building/Training on Best Practices in Post-Harvest Handling of Shea.
Nanono, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Bernard Ukattah, disclosed that the country has lost enough revenue owing to the non-development of the value chain.
To tackle this, the minister said, the Federal Government has now added the industry to its priority value chains in order to adequately promote it.
He further explained that the training was part of the government’s efforts to support value-addition in the industry.
Nanono noted that farmers would be trained on the adoption of better agricultural practices needed to foster their participation in the global market.
He explained, “Nigeria is the largest producer of shea nuts in Africa and the world at large, followed by Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo. It has about five million hectares of shea trees but all are in the wild.
“The West African production of shea nuts is estimated at 600,000mt which is based on traded volume. Not adding value to this commodity locally is costing Nigeria huge losses in the form of foreign exchange earnings and exportation of Shea products.
“Compared to the cosmetics industry, however, processed shea butter is more prevalently used in the food industry, taking up 90 per cent of total production.
“Most of the shea nuts in Nigeria are exported with only about 20 per cent of the products consumed domestically. The quantity available greatly depends on large conglomerates in the market that purchase almost 50% of the total volume.”