Research scientists at the Cocoa Research Institute in Bole have called on policy makers to commit more resources into research into shea farming.
According to them, the move will help the researchers discover shea varieties with less gestation period.
Speaking to 3news.com in Bole, Senior Research Scientist at the Institute Dr Julius Yeboah said more resources and farmer interest are key in this regard.
He added that the shea tree has become a viable economic venture and if given the needed attention will rival cocoa.
“Just like cocoa and cashew, the gestation period of shea can also be reduced but our greatest challenge is resources which when improved will facilitate our work.”
A plant breeder, Dr. Micheal Teye Barner, noted that enhancing farm value for shea would accelerate development.
He called for more interest and support.
“Shea will do better if we do more work and the policy makers should be serious and place premium on research.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Golden Shea Tree Zakaria Abdul Rashid, who led a team of stakeholders in the shea value chain to the Research Institute, said he is impressed with the efforts by the researchers to reduce the gestation period of shea.
He is optimistic the move will improve yields which will improve livelihoods of industry players while contributing to GDP growth of the economy.
For his part, the Acting Director of Operations at the Tree Crop Development Authority, Patrick Zeal, revealed the demand for shea along the value chain is huge.
He called on the private sector to invest in shea.
“I am impressed with what I have come to see here and coming from the Tree Development Authority, we will take this serious to boost the shea industry”
Shea is one of the largest non-traditional exports of the country.
Over the last two decades, shea exports continued to bring stable income to rural women with over 600 percent export increment.
Data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) indicate Ghana exports over $90 million worth of Shea which is approximately 55, 990 tonnes.
Unfair pricing, felling and burning of shea trees and uncollected shea are some of the challenges associated with the shea industry.
The Cocoa Research Institute in Bole has begun research into hybridization, grafting and cutting of shea variety.
The move is aimed at reducing the gestation period of shea from 15 years to between 4 and 10 years.
In 2020, the World Shea Expo, which is the first of its kind, was held in Tamale.
The expo provided stakeholders the opportunity to showcase Ghana’s shea industry, promote and create local and international markets.
By Christopher Amoako|3news.com|Ghana