Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo has revealed that almost N350 billion was lost to smuggling of Shea products from Nigeria every year due to the nonexistence of proper structure for the Shea value chain in the country.
He made the demand at a conference in Abuja recently.
Awolowo called for a proactive action and enabling structure on the production of Shea butter in the country to maximise the country has over the production of Share butter.
The two-day conference, which had the theme, Shea Conference: A Concerted Renaissance was organised by the USAID Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport, NEXTT project in collaboration with Shea Origin and the National Shea Products Association of Nigeria, NASPAN.
Awolowo noted that Shea butter was one of the products that had been selected for the NEPC One-State-One- Product, OSOP initiative which seeks to develop one exportable product per state by leveraging on the area’s comparative advantage.
He stressed that with increase measures of repositioning the non-oil sector with agricultural products, high production of Shea would add value to the country’s socio-economic space in the form of inclusive and sustainable growth and wealth creation.
Awolowo said that traditional uses of Shea encompassed cosmetics, soap, moisturiser, oil, wax, ointments and candles.
He added, “Shea butter is now commonly used in the production of cocoa butter equivalents or improvers and up to five per cent content by weight is allowed under EU regulations in chocolate, other confectionaries and margarine, creating even larger international markets for Shea products.”
Awolowo noted that the issues of quality control with Shea processing in Nigeria must be standardised.
He said, “Although, there are approximately 16 Shea producing states in Nigeria, problems arising from quality control meant we were unable to convert our comparative advantage to competitive advantage in the global arena.
“Yet the strong sector development can lead to poverty reduction, women empowerment, employment generation through the establishment of small and medium scale industries and the earning of precious foreign exchange.”

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