Tree Aid, an International Development Organization working in Northern Ghana has commissioned and handed over three shea butter processing centres to women groups at three different communities in the Kassena-Nankana area of the Upper East Region.
The NGO under its 'Grow Hope Project' supported the women groups who had started the construction of the processing centres to complete them and install the necessary equipment to aid in the processing of quality shea butter.
The beneficiary communities are Nyangua and Biu in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and Chiana-Abolo in the Kassena-Nankana West District.
The project, which started in 2018 is being facilitated by Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS), a local NGO which focuses on the environment. It is financially support from the Jersey Overseas Aid, another NGO.
Speaking at the separate commissioning of the projects, Mr Jonathan A. Naaba, the Country Programmes Manager, Tree Aid, explained that while the women groups begun the construction of the processing centres, Tree Aid provided and installed all the necessary processing machinery including crashers, kneaders, miller, roasters, accessories and motors for the powering of the equipment.
Mr Naaba said the equipment amounted to GHC108,000.00.
He said the Tree Aid also contributed 50 per cent of the cost of extending electricity to the facilities, while the Assemblies paid the remaining 50 per cent.
Giving the background of the project, the Country Programmes Manager explained that the Grow Hope Project, aimed at improving livelihoods and increasing household income from sustainable forest product supplies for 1,508 rural households targeting about 8,218 people while reducing the threat to the ecosystems across the two districts.
"The project seeks to reach this goal through the development of viable non-timber forest product (NTFP) enterprises and cooperatives; through sustainable NTFP utilisation, firewood management and the increase of tree cover on farmland. The project seeks to help vulnerable rural communities to take fuller advantage of opportunities for commercial trade in NTFPs whilst protecting forest resources," he added.
Mr Clifford Amoah Adagenera, the Programmes Manager, ORGIIS Ghana, noted that over the years, ORGIIS in collaboration with Tree Aid and its partners had built the capacities of the women to take advantage of the potentials of economic trees to improve their livelihoods and reduce poverty.
Mr Adagenera expressed optimism that the processing centres would help the women increase production and meet market demand both in supply and quality and promised to continue to provide market links to their products.
Mr Alhassan Abdul-Baqi, the Development Planning Officer of the Kassena-Nankana Municipal Assembly, who spoke on behalf of Mr William Aduum, the Municipal Chief Executive, encouraged the women to maintain the machines to keep them in shape for continuous production.
Madam Mary Baduriwo, a Member of the Buru Cooperative Union of the Nyangua Community, expressed gratitude to ORGIIS Ghana, Tree Aid and its partners for the support and pledged to use the facilities to increase productivity.