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18.02.2009 Business & Finance

PBC Ventures into sheanut industry


Produce Buying Company (PBC) is diversifying its operations in the commodities market by venturing into the sheanut industry.

Managing Director, Anthony Osei Boakye, said the venture is aimed at increasing the revenue base of the company.

PBC during the 2007/2008 financial year posted a significant growth of profit before tax by 660.6 percent from GH¢0.388 million to GH¢2.95 million.

Boakye told Business & Financial Times that "If all goes on well, we may have to process the raw nuts to add value in the near future."

The company's sheanut operations are currently based in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Region.

"We will eventually be in the Volta Region, where there are a lot of prospects for harvesting of the product."

"PBC has a lot of goodwill from the sheanut farmers, and that positions us to buy more; but the product is seasonal."

Ghana exports more than 50,000 tonnes of sheanut kernels each year, representing a third of West Africa's total sheanut exports of 150,000 tonnes.

There are currently few commercial farms dealing in sheanut in the country. The products are used in edible cooking oils and also used around the world as skin-care lotions or moisturising cream and other cosmetics.

Produce Buying Company is a 100% owned subsidiary of Ghana Cocoa Board and the single largest buyer of cocoa for the domestic market. The company operates throughout the cocoa buying districts of the country.

It purchases cocoa beans from farmers and stores them in purpose built sheds at village and society level, then carts these to collection points for inspection, grading and sealing by the Cocoa Board's Quality Control Department.

Shea-butter, which is medically proven to be an effective skin protector, helps fight wrinkles, promotes cell renewal and enhances blood circulation, is currently in high demand in Europe.

Brazil spends over US$80 million annually on shea-butter imports and hopes to depend largely on the country's product, which is of high quality.