The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (MWAPA), in partnership with the Centre for Promotion of Imports (CBI) from developing countries, based in the Netherlands, is set to empower women residents in Lagos on Shea Butter production and export.
The Commissioner for Women and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, made this known during a courtesy visit to her office by a team from CBI, adding that shea butter is considered women’s gold and a thriving source of revenue for those involved in its cultivation and production.
She explained that the partnership aimed at leveraging on the local untapped resources towards financial independence of interested Lagos women residents, stressing that studies have shown that Nigeria produces 45% of the global demand for shea butter but only generates $5 million annually from its sales.
Her words: “The Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation already has an established Avia Farm in Badagry for grassroots women. It is designed to encourage organic farming using simple biological methods to enhance outputs and boost food production.
“Hence, this laudable initiative of shea butter production with CBI will certainly enhance proficiency in agricultural cultivation through training, with a particular target on the improved financial sustainability of Lagos women residents”, Dada added.
In his remarks, the CBI Institutional Expert, Mr. Peter Hurst, stated that Nigeria is the largest producer of Shea Nuts but the least exporter of Shea products in the value chain.
He said: “Nigeria, being the largest producer of Shea Nuts in the world, needs to increase the value-added exports of this sought after products using improved marketing strategies and branding through training of women for its exportation”.
“Shea Butter is called ‘Women’s Gold’, because of the special processes involved in producing qualitative brands for best international standards. You are lucky to have it on your soil and you need to explore it for economic growth”, Hurst added.
Also speaking, Miss Sholape Epega, CBI Gender Expert, enjoined Lagos women to participate in the programme towards ensuring that economic sustainability is attained in the Shea butter production initiative.
This, she said, will enhance financial independence among womenfolk across the metropolis.