The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) recently hosted a workshop aimed at boosting the export competitiveness of shea products from farmers and vendors.
The event which held in Jos Plateau State, brought together individuals from varied sectors including export, banking, agriculture, and commerce.
NEPC Executive Director, Mrs Nonye Ayeni, stressed the potential economic value of shea products, citing research that projects the product’s worth could hit $3.5 billion by 2028.
“Nigeria is estimated to be hosting more than 60 per cent of the shea trees but has failed to harness its full potential to enter the global market.There is need to address the indiscriminate felling of shea trees for fire wood in the forests.
“We therefore, call on value chain influencers like international and domestic NGOs, and development agencies to partner with us in changing the narrative,” she said.
The North-Central Coordinator of the Council, Mr Samson Idowu commented on the untapped potential of the commodity despite its abundant availability.
He urged stakeholders to leverage the product’s market value, calling for their support for the Federal Government’s campaign, “Export for Survival.”
“It is our belief that a shea product by its potentials is cash-generating that should be targeted for intensive development and promotion, which in turn increases Nigeria’s share of the world demand in line with the zero-oil plan of the Council.
“The Council considers it imperative to call together all relevant stakeholders on the need to set in motion actions toward stimulating increase processing/output in line with international best practices and improve the export performance of the sub-sector.
“This is in view of the obvious economic benefits to the state in particular and the nation at large,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Gabriel Goni, Chairman of the National Shea Products Association of Nigeria (NASPAN), pushed for wider awareness of the economic potential of shea products and the job opportunities they present.
He called for infrastructural support for rural women and youth involved in shea nut collection and processing activities as a means of community empowerment.
This will go a very long way to empower the women and the youths in our localities” he said.