The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo has said that the Federal Government will tackle the challenges impeding the growth and development of the Shea industry in Nigeria.
The minister disclosed this at the 3rd Annual Shea Conference, with the theme, “From Origin to Global Markets: Making Shea a Premium Commodity for Export.”
Some of these challenges include indiscriminate felling of shea trees, lack of standard shea processing methods and facilities, inadequate in formation/data on small and large-scale producers of shea butter.
There is also the issue of lack of awareness on best practices and poor packaging and branding.
The Minister said that the government understood the importance of the sector, adding that some of the challenges would be tackled to improve standardization and industry growth.
Despite being the world’s top producers of shea, Nigeria only exports about 10 percent of over 250,000 tonnes of Shea nut produced annually.
The minister stated, “The government is making efforts to tackle some of the challenges associated with shea industry in Nigeria.
“Challenges like indiscriminate felling of shea trees, lack of standard shea processing methods and facilities, inadequate in formation/data on small and large-scale producers of shea butter, lack of awareness on best practices and poor packaging and branding.
“It is imperative to address these challenges in a view of the increasing demand for shea nut and butter globally.
He said the government is intensifying efforts on the Export Expansion Grant scheme and Export Expansion Facilities handled by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, noting that this would help to support active exporters to expand their international businesses.
Adebayo further added that the RT 200 is also another effort of the Central Bank of Nigeria to reduce exposure to volatile source of foreign exchange from non-oil proceed over the next three to five years and to earn more stable and sustainable inflow of foreign exchange earnings.
Furthermore, Adebayo stated that the government and the private stakeholders along the country’s value chain have put all necessary measures in place to see that Nigeria maintain the position of highest exporter of shea in the world.
The minister also encouraged stakeholders in the industry to take advantage inherent in continental market through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.