The “Harmattan School”, a policy think-tank group in northern Ghana, has appealed to the government to set up a Sheanut Development Board to oversee the affairs of the sheanut and other crops in the north.
The group also called on the government to establish a Sheanut Research Institute with budgetary allocations to encourage research into the development and commercialization of the shea tree.
It further suggested to the government to take up the sheanut industry as a special initiative just as in the case of cocoa.
The appeals were contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the ''Third Harmattan School'' organized by the Centre for Continuing Education and Interdisciplinary Research (CCEIR) of the University for Development Studies (UDS).
The centre is a think-tank and advocacy group that seeks to ensure improved accountability in the development discourse of northern Ghana.
This year's school was under the theme;: “Food security and poverty reduction: Conventional and Non- conventional food production”.
Over 50 participants from the academia and civil society organizations took part in the deliberations.
Prof Kaku Sagary Nokoe, Acting Vice Chancellor of the UDS who read the communiqué, said the proposed Savannah Development Authority should put more emphasis on the agricultural sub-sector, especially the food sub-sector.
Prof Nokoe called on the government, bilateral and multilateral agencies to promote small-scale irrigation development in all districts of the north to facilitate dry season farming.
“This will help mitigate the hunger gap caused by the long dry season experienced in the area.”
The communiqué also called for special efforts by government to develop the guinea fowl industry, as well as small and large ruminants' through the provision of feed, drugs, housing, water and micro-credit.
In the area of value addition and marketing, the think-tank appealed to government and the private sector to promote the processing and storage of excess agricultural produce in the north by encouraging the setting up of small storage units within households and communities.
On women empowerment, the group called on government and its development partners to provide credit facilities that would be readily accessible to the women and the vulnerable.
The participants at the school mandated the UDS to develop a proposal for enhancing domestic accountability through the establishment of an “Observatory” or “Northern eye” that would develop a comprehensive system for monitoring development results and service delivery by government and NGOs in northern Ghana.