Mr. Sunday Akpan, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, said this in Abuja on Tuesday that the government was working towards ensuring stoppage of importation of Shea-based products like vegetable oil, soap and other cosmetics.
Akpan, who was represented by the Director, Department of Commodity Produce and Inspectorate (CPI), Mrs. Omololu Ope-Ewe, at the presentation of the draft policy, said: “The country will build a virile Shea hub, which takes us to a point where we will be exporting high quality Shea butter and other products instead of exporting the raw nut, which yields close to nothing.
“The policy will enable thousands of Nigerians to find new opportunities in Shea business and engage millions in both direct and indirect jobs for wealth creation,’’ Akpan said.
According to him, the country must evolve new strategies towards gaining market access for Shea products.
He said that Nigeria needed to agree on the right method and process that would attract and stimulate new and sustainable investment in the Shea sector.
Akpan said that the National Shea Policy would guide, regulate, protect and support stakeholders in the sector.
“Nigeria accounts for about 57 percent of global Shea supply, producing about 400,000 metric tonnes annually.
“It is, however, disturbing that more than half of the total quantity produced is not accounted for owing to poor post-harvest handling.
“Others are lack of modern processing equipment, low investment, lack of innovation, research and development,” he said.
In her presentation of the draft document, Mrs. Funmi Ilamah, from the Management Strategy Advisory Ltd, said that Nigeria lacked a solid structure and plantation to boost the sector.
According to Ilamah, the country produces 75 percent of Shea, while it exports only 10 percent of it.
She said the sector was faced with issues like lack of domestication and cultivation of Shea trees in Nigeria.