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April 20, 2024
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Group to plant 10m Shea butter trees by 2030

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By Felicia Imohimi

The Global Shea Alliance (GSA) has pledged its commitment to plant and nurture 10 million Shea butter trees by 2030, to secure the future of the product.

The GSA Director-General, Mr Aaron Adu made the pledge in Abuja at the opening of the 2024 Global Shea Conference with the theme “Bridging the Gap”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference was hosted by the National Shea Products Association of Nigeria (NASPAN).

Adu, who spoke on ‘Shea 2024 Abuja Declaration: Call for Action for Shea Parklands Initiatives’,  said the group would restore four million hectares of Shea parklands between now and 2030.

He said that shea butter was a key contributor to economic growth and diversification, whose impact was huge among vulnerable communities

According to him, meeting the 10 million trees commitment will revitalise the activities of women shea collectors and processors.

The director-general said that 10 countries would partner to improve their policies regarding shea parklands management.

“We will work collaboratively to achieve this objective in partnership with women shea producers, fellow GSA members, government institutions, national associations, and other stakeholders,” he said.

He noted that shea income has a ripple effect on nutrition, education, and health, especially in the poor households.

According to him, a study in Ghana showed that 90 per cent of women viewed shea as a major resource for their livelihoods.

Adu expressed concern over the decimation of eight million shea trees annually due to several factors including reduction in the farm-fallow cycles been key for natural regeneration.

“This decrease in shea tree population in turn impacts rural economic development and women’s empowerment. The availability of shea supply is at risk to respond to growing demand.

“Shea communities are at the same time disproportionately impacted by climate change, with extreme temperatures and climate events changing the landscape and impacting agricultural yields.

“Considering the scale of the challenge and its enormous impact, the shea industry and stakeholders need to respond urgently to ensure resilient communities and revitalise supply availability,” Adu said.

He said two billion shea trees grow on nearly 275 million hectares of women-managed farming systems across Africa.

The trees, according to him, are integrated with food and agricultural crops on small-holder farms, creating an agroforestry landscape resilient to climate change.

“Every year, shea parklands in West Africa capture more than 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.

”These climate benefits also materialise at the farm level. ‘Research has shown that shea trees improve the soil structure, making farms more resistant to droughts and floods, with a global market of2.75 billion USD and 16 million women employed,” he added.

Alhaji Mohammed Kontagora, the President of NASPAN, said the call for action on shea parklands was purposely to plan for the future.

Kontagora, who is also an executive member of GSA, identified shea tree in Africa as an endangered specie, being cut down for various purposes.

“There is a demand for its increase on yearly basis. We in Nigeria have all it takes to plant 10 million shea trees, based on the call to action, and we will work with different stakeholders at the grassroots like women, community leaders to achieve the global target,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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