By; BALA B. BITRUS. Minna.
The American Shea-Butter Institute (ASBI) and the Atlanta City Council have agreed to partner Niger state government to develop the great potentials and rich endowment of the state in Sheabutter trees to process the fruits for both pharmaceutical, industrial, commercial and domestic uses.
Niger state has the largest concentration of Sheanut trees across the state and has been leading in the local, home grown small scale, cottage industries for the production of crude Sheabutter oil for export and local use.
Commissioner of Commerce and Investments in the state, Hajiya Ramatu Mohammed Yar’Adua disclosed at the weekend that the state government would in the next two weeks sign a Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) with the American investors to bolster the potentials of the state in the wonderful economic trees that abounds in the state.
She expressed optimism that with the memorandum in place, farmers, local industries, and new entrepreneurs would cash in on the new vistas of opportunity to have their products in international markets.
The Commissioner said that the partnership with the American Shea Butter Institute, (ASBI) and the Atlanta City Council of the United State of America on the improvement of Shea-butter production through new technologies in the state would lunch the state into a huge exporter of both crude Shea-butter, it’s cake and oil.She said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state and the American investors would enable the state to adopt new technologies in processing and harnessing the production, refining optimal tapping of all the components bye products of the wonderful monocotilydun nuts that are useful in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, domestic uses, etc.
Niger state government according to the Commissioner is in the process of drawing up a roadmap for a wholistic development of an agro allied sector in the state for exploring the vast potentials of the wonder Sheanut trees so as to increase interest in planting trees and improve the market value of crude Sheabutter and oil from $2 to $1000 in the nearest future.
She disclosed that part of the memorandum to be entered into by the state would include training of women who are already into production and processing of Sheabutter, equipping of interested participants with modern knowledge on the production, skills impartation on quality control during production and processing, protocols and the establishment of a certification centre for Shea products in parts of the state.
Hajiya Ramatu Yar’Adua expressed delight with the new vistas of opportunity that would lunch the state into an exporter for a world class product. She said part of the gains of the partnership would be the establishment of a new business portfolio to be named the Niger State Shea Sector, (NSSS).
The Commissioner also opined that the expansion in the business would lead growth in economy with multiplier consequences on internally generated revenue for the state.
She disclosed that women groups would be engaged in the training on how to pick Sheanuts, how to preserve the nuts and skills on storage technics to get the best from the nuts to avoid post harvest loses in line with international best practices.
She said the government will do everything possible to encourage and engender interest in planting of more Sheanut trees by farmers, and protection of existing ones. Very soon according to her the state would conduct enumeration of the trees even as it explore ways to genetically improve the plant for greater yields in fruits and it’s size.