Buipe (N/R), May 15, GNA - Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday announced that government has embarked on a number of programmes that would improve the sheanut industry and uplift women in the country from abject poverty.
He said, "Statistics indicate that more women in the northern parts of the country are the poorest and mostly engaged in shea nut picking and therefore improving on the industry would help improve on their livelihood and status.”
Vice President Mahama announced this when he inaugurated a GH¢30-million Utra-modern Shea Butter factory at Buipe in the Central Gonja district of the Northern Region.
The facility which was established with a GH¢30-million loan facility, is not only an ultra-modern sheabutter factory, but would also provide jobs for hundreds of Ghanaians in the coming years.
The Company has also constructed residential accommodation for all the workers who would not need to travel long journeys to and from work in the centre.
Vice President Mahama mentioned some of the measures as re-organising and re-vitalising all shea nut societies and the collaboration of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority and PBC to provide tricycles, wellington boots and gloves to all shea nut pickers.
He gave the assurance that Buipe would soon become the industrial hub of the North as as result of its location in the central part of the northern sector.
He appealed to the kingmakers and various chieftaincy factions to settle their issues amicable and not to resort to litigation which would end up retarding the development process.
Mr Kojo Atta-Krah, Managing Director of Produce Buying Company (PBC) Limited said apart from investing in the shea factory his outfit would also provide 120,000 litres of treated water to the Buipe community as part of the company's corporate social responsibility.
He said PBC had already acquired a market for the factory in Brazil and would explore other market centres in other parts of the world in the coming years and appealed to other stakeholders to play their roles for the company to achieve its estimated 30 years period and beyond.
Mr Atta-Krah said PBC would also collaborate with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority to provide tricycles and other logistics for the collection of shea nuts from the farms to the factory and marketing centres.
He gave the assurance that his outfit would also collaborate with the Central Gonja District Assembly to upgrade the Health Post in Buipe to a clinic and support them to secure the services of a permanent Medical doctor to be stationed at Buipe.
Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister, called on the PBC to institute a scholarship for wards of the workers and beneficiary communities, just like it had provided for wards of cocoa farmers over the years.
He gave the assurance that government would execute all the road projects in the Central Gonja District, adding that “The Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road has already been awarded to three different contractors and Vice President Mahama would by June this year cut the sod for commencement of work."
Madam Irene Vida Gala, Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana said the factory would further strengthen the relations between Ghana and Brazil and ensure food security in Ghana for the coming years.
She expressed satisfaction that women were major beneficiaries of the factory and gave the assurance that her mission would step up its collaboration in agriculture for the mutual benefit of Ghana and Brazil.