A delegation from Kogi Enterprise Development Agency (KEDA) has embarked on a 2-day tour to Niger State on a mission to understudy the shea-butter value chain in the North Central state.
The tour, according to KEDA Communication Strategist, Opeyemi Ologun, will afford the agency a chance to explore potential transfer of knowledge towards growing the market for shea butter which has been named a catalyst for women empowerment in Nigeria.
Ologun said Kogi state government is exploring ways to enhance the shea butter value chain as a catalyst for women empowerment in furtherance of Governor Yahaya Bello’s quest to promote entrepreneurship, particularly among the female gender.
According to her, the KEDA delegation were received by Niger State Commodity Exchange Promotion Agency (NSCEPA), a state agency responsible for increase in production, marketing and distribution of various agricultural produce in Niger State.
She said NSECPA and KEDA teams are expected to discuss issues around Shea butter entrepreneurs and cooperatives, partnerships and collaborations with foreign agencies and organizations; Shea butter aggregation, filtration and export; investors and marketing; supply and value chain; challenges, solutions and prospects during the course of the tour.
Kogi state, through KEDA, is proposing a multidisciplinary approach that combines fruit farming, apiary, biochar, and other similar produce with a view to increasing revenue, sharing operations, expertise and fostering sustainability and expansion in the state.
“According to Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Nigeria is estimated to produce about 500,000 metric tonnes of shea nuts annually with the potential of generating 10 billion dollars per annum across the value chain. Niger State has focused on systematically organising the sector attracting numerous partners; notable among this feat is the UN Women, 7 cooperatives have participated and received international trainings to train more women.
“Interestingly, Niger, Kogi and Kwara contribute 57 percent to the Shea Butter value chain, while other states jointly contribute 43 percent. Even with Kogi State’s huge landmass with comparative advantage of Shea trees in all the 21 LGAs, there is a need to increase the production capacity of the sector,” she said.
In her remarks, Fatima Wushishi, the DG NSCEPA described KEDA’s quest to understudy Shea butter development in Niger State as highly professional.
She further noted that Kogi state’s diversification in agriculture is a great step in the right direction just as its exploring the various economically viable deposits across the state.
Mr Daniel Ogu, Research and Development Specialist and KG-CARES ICT Enhancement Lead, Mr Umar Ahmed Tijani, Business Development Associate and KG-CARES Head of Credit Grants and Mrs Joyce Atawodi, Coordinator of Kogi Shea Butter Association were part of KEDA delegation.
KEDA team visited the Shea butter village on Thursday to assess the production strength and interact with the farmers.