In view of Governor Yahaya Bello’s efforts through Kogi Enterprise Development Agency, KEDA, in reviving and supporting local producers in the state, Kogi has recently been named the best in quality Shea producing state after Niger.
This was made known in a press statement issued and signed by KEDA Communication Strategist, Opeyemi Ologun to newsmen in Lokoja.
It would be recalled that KEDA had embarked on a 2-day tour in July to Niger State on a peer-review mission to study the Shea-Butter value chain in the State, and to explore potential transfer of knowledge towards growing the market for Shea butter which has been named a catalyst for women empowerment in Nigeria.
According to the statement, the recognition which took place in Abuja during a 3-day Shea Conference organized by National Shea Products Association of Nigeria (NASPAN) was attended by delegates from Kogi Enterprise Development Agency (KEDA).
The statement further revealed that the conference was geared towards shea promotion in Nigeria and a strategic initiative to enhance the visibility of Shea, promote its value, scale up its performance in the national and international markets, track emerging issues, bolster peer parity and attract local and foreign investment.
Some of the strategic issues highlighted as contained in the statement by relevant stakeholders at the conference include; introduction and development of Shea, development policy, unambiguous definition, identification and establishment of private Parklands, creation and categorization of stakeholders in Shea value chain to include Women Cooperatives and Nuts Collectors as Micro/Small Entrepreneurs, exploring partnership to develop Shea Markets and enhance knowledge transfer among other relevant issues.
Other participants at the conference were representatives of Niger State Commodities & Export Promotion Agency, Commodities Experts Department from the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI), Association of Deans of Agriculture in Nigeria, NICERT Ltd (Quality and Standard Firm), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Shea Alliance, Commodity Development Initiative (CDI), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), and Nigeria Export Promotion Council.
Kogi Enterprise Development Agency KEDA reports that Shea export market from West Africa has in the last 2 years increased by 300% and 21 African (East and West) countries account for over 80% of Shea origin for export to Europe and USA. Global Shea Alliance (GSA) members have doubled their investment in Shea development for various industries as inputs or additives in production lines for confectioneries and pharmaceutical products.