Absence of Electricity Affecting Shea Production

Members of the Siring �A� Women�s Shea Butter Extraction Society, a cooperative society based at Sirigu in the Kassena Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, are unable to produce shea butter in large quantities due to lack of electricity. This was contained in a press statement issued by the leadership of the group and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga, on Tuesday. According to the statement, the lack of electric power supply was preventing members of the society from taking advantage of opportunities in the Shea butter business and that was encumbering on production leading to low productivity. It said processing of shea butter manually without electricity to power processing machines, affected the growth of the private sector and impeded on rural industrialisation leading to low job creation for rural people. �Currently, members process 75 bags of Shea nuts at full capacity. However, this could have been increased to 700 bags when mechanized," it said, adding that the association had acquired processing equipment which needed electricity to run. It further stated that the move, if successful, would create a forward and backward linkage in the private sector business activities while engaging people in the supply of inputs and raw materials like shea nut, jute and transportation. It said it was imperative for a concerted effort to be made to draw critical stakeholders to discuss opportunities for sustainable economic empowerment for rural women. The lack of electricity supply to the facility, the statement noted, was adversely affecting the Shea nut industry in six other communities and appealed to government, as a matter of urgency, to salvage the industry by connecting their Shea butter processing equipment to the National Electrification Grid. The society, established in 2002 has a membership of 120 and aims at picking, producing and marketing Shea nuts and butter to create jobs for members.