Over the last three decades Agriculture has gained enormous success in reducing poverty on a global scale. In Africa, much of the impetus behind the large and increasing support from governments, NGOs and benevolent agencies for the Agricultural sector including the Shea industry, hinge on the assumption that its economic and social impact are momentous and influential in alleviating poverty among the unskilled labour force most especially among the rural folks and its contribution to food security. This study empirically examined the role of the Shea industry as a tool for reducing poverty among rural women in thirty-five (35) selected rural Shea communities in the three regions of Northern Ghana. The study sought to find out the sources and types of funding arrangements, ascertain whether women have access to logistical support and the influencing factors, determine Shea butter processing techniques in the communities, identify production constraints as well as eculiarities of women engage in the Shea industry. The study employed descriptive and inferential analysis coupled with the probit and multiple linear regressions for further analysis of the data. Primary data were collected by administering questionnaires to a sample size of 210 Shea farmers using multi-stage random sampling techniques. The statistical package STATA was used to analyze the ordinary least squares parameters at 1% and 10% levels of significance. The study revealed that labour, technology, education and logistical support were found to be positively and significantly related to output whereas the Probit regression results indicated that the probability that a shea picker or butter processor would receive some logistical support is significantly determined by one’s level of output, processing technique and capacity training. Again, the study showed that 60.48% of the women are energetic and have the potential of increasing their productivity when given the needed support, 58.7% of respondents largely depended on the shea industry as a source of their livelihood, 67.14% were married and 30% widows, 68.1% had no formal education while 31.9% of respondents had some form of formal education. Moreover, the study found that 43.3% of respondents relied on personal savings as a source of funding their shea business whereas about 39.1% of the women benefited from benevolent NGOs. However, contract financing, leasing credit, and micro credit schemes were found to be the funding arrangements in the industry. Furthermore, the study showed that majority 56.7% of respondents adopted the semi- mechanized processing technique while 43.3% relied heavily on the traditional method to process their nuts into butter. Major production constraints in the Shea industry include; inadequate support in terms of credit and logistics, inadequate processing equipment, limited supply of labour, high illiteracy rate, exploitation by Agents (middlemen and women) and unfavourable weather conditions. The study concluded that the Shea industry in its current state might not help in a substantial increase in the incomes of rural women unless stakeholders (government and NGOs) intervene with the needed logistical support coupled with building the entrepreneurial skills of women engaged in the Shea industry. The study recommends; the decoupling of the Shea unit from COCOBOD, PBCs should buy directly from the farmers, GRATIS foundation should design equipment for the industry at a subsidized cost, organize the women into cooperative groups and assist them access extension services, credit and logistics support as well as ready market for their produce and more research should be conducted by the CSIR, SARI and CRIG to reduce the maturation period of the shea tree.
ANAFO, F (2021). The Shea Industry: A Tool For Poverty Reduction Among Rural Women In Northern Ghana. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/the-shea-industry-a-tool-for-poverty-reduction-among-rural-women-in-northern-ghana
ANAFO, FRANCIS "The Shea Industry: A Tool For Poverty Reduction Among Rural Women In Northern Ghana" Afribary. Afribary, 11 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/the-shea-industry-a-tool-for-poverty-reduction-among-rural-women-in-northern-ghana. Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.
ANAFO, FRANCIS . "The Shea Industry: A Tool For Poverty Reduction Among Rural Women In Northern Ghana". Afribary, Afribary, 11 Apr. 2021. Web. 30 Mar. 2023. < https://afribary.com/works/the-shea-industry-a-tool-for-poverty-reduction-among-rural-women-in-northern-ghana >.
ANAFO, FRANCIS . "The Shea Industry: A Tool For Poverty Reduction Among Rural Women In Northern Ghana" Afribary (2021). Accessed March 30, 2023. https://afribary.com/works/the-shea-industry-a-tool-for-poverty-reduction-among-rural-women-in-northern-ghana