Women in the Bawena community in the North Gonja District of the Savannah Region have received a 60MT capacity Warehouse to help improve the storage of organic shea nuts. A total of about 400 women are expected to benefit from the use of the warehouse.

Collection of non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as gathering and processing of wild fruits like Shea (Vitellaria Paradoxa) constitutes key sources of livelihood of communities in the Northern Savannah landscape.

Despite the wide benefits derived by the women in the communities through these activities, there are pertinent challenges they face. Until now, women collectors in these communities store bagged nuts in their rooms which increases the risk of contamination due to the presence of chemical substances such us insecticides, weedicides and others.

Also, the limited storage space within households impedes collectors from picking more nuts. The poor nature of the road network linking to these communities also makes it difficult to transport nuts especially during the raining season.
An important component of the Organic shea trade is to avoid contamination of nuts at every stage of the process.

To promote effective implementation of the standards in organic shea collection to enhance fair trade mechanism, a new warehouse has been constructed and handed over to the women’s group. The warehouse which is sited in Bawena is to serve the community people most especially women in Bawena-Kpulumbo and Yazori-Kumbo Community Resources Management Areas (CREMAs) to store their organic shea nuts to avoid contamination and increase stocks.

At the handing over ceremony, the Northern Sector Manager of A Rocha Ghana, Mr. Godwin Evenyo Dzekoto commended the women groups for the continuous commitment in promoting sound management of the environment whiles improving their livelihoods. He indicated that the construction of the warehouse was made possible through funding support from the various projects been run in the landscape including the EconoBio project by Noe, Shared Resources Joint Solution program by IUCN-Netherlands, and support from the Global Shea Alliance (GSA). He therefore counseled the women to ensure proper maintenance of the facility.

The country Co-ordinator of the EconoBio project, Cécile Renierˊ indicated that Noé and the partners are so keen in promoting the development of shea businesses and other NTFPs in the landscape towards maximization of the value chain development through collaborating with the communities and the private sector. She therefore informed the women to promote sustainable utilization, management and conservation of the natural resources and its biodiversity through increasing and protection of the shea and other indigenous tree species population for the direct benefit of the community, the nation, and nature in general.

The women who were highly enthused and overwhelmed by the development expressed their emphatic appreciation to A Rocha Ghana and the Partners and finally pledged their unflinching commitment to support and promote the ecological integrity of the landscape. The Chairperson (Magazia) of the Bawena Shea women group, Madam Aljara Dankala received the keys to the facility on behalf of the communities.

A Rocha Ghana and its development Partners have been engaging Community Resources Management Areas in the North Gonja District of Savannah Region of Ghana in developing organic wild collection of shea nuts and other Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) through sustainable management of the community natural resources and proper utilization of the revenues generated from commercial activities in the forest and range lands.

Through these activities the women in the communities have been empowered resourced and trained in internal standards in organic shea collection. Other activities such as provision of tricycles, training of women’s groups and registration as cooperatives are all geared towards the development of the shea value chain.

In attendance, were representatives from Noé, IUCN-Netherlands, A Rocha Ghana, the Traditional authorities, CREMA Executives and other key stakeholders.

Zion Abdul Rauf/Damongo
Nkilgi 103.7 Fm