The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has opened a Shea Unit Office in Tamale to serve as an operational secretariat to develop the shea industry through the supply chain; research, extension, plantation development and preservation of the shea tree.
The opening of the Shea Unit Office is in line with the road map to get a Shea Development Board for the shea sector to superintendent over its affairs in the country.
Currently, the shea sector is managed by a Unit under the COCOBOD, a situation, which stakeholders consider as not appropriate for the development of the sector.
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, who opened the secretariat in Tamale on Thursday, said the Shea Unit had developed a strategic document, which was before the Board of Directors of COCOBOD, adding â€œOnce it is approved, it will go through the Minister to Cabinet and to Parliament.â€
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Mr Boahen Aidoo said the government was keen on developing the shea sector in the country because of its enormous benefits to the economy and the livelihoods of the people in the northern part of the country.
He announced that COCOBOD would sponsor PhD research students to do research into the shea industry to help in coming up with ways to reduce the gestation period of the shea tree from the current 15-year period to as low as 18 months.
He said COCOBOD was working to open Shea secretariat in Wa and Bolgatanga to drive the development of the industry in the north.
Mr Boahen Aidoo said it was not enough to just pick the shea fruits for export, adding â€œwe need to develop the downstream sector of the industry because collection of the nuts is not enough, we should go further and take greater advantage of the value of the industryâ€.
Alhaji Abdel-Majeed Haroun, Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority (NDA), whose speech was read on his behalf, assured of NDAâ€™s commitment to work to develop the shea industry as part of the governmentâ€™s One-District One-Factory initiative.
Alhaji Haroun urged all to protect the shea trees and desist from felling and or burning of the trees.
Tuluwura Bonya, Paramount Chief of Tuluwe Traditional Area, who chaired the event, expressed delight at the opening of the secretariat, saying stakeholders would collaborate with it to ensure success.