He said: “It is approximated that about 85 per cent of traded shea goes into confectionery industry mostly as cocoa butter substitute and other confectionery products and (15 per cent) goes to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
“The opportunity to create wealth in the shea butter industry is enormous in Nigeria for instance the conversion of 100, 00 metric tonnes of shea industry is enormous in Nigeria.
“At this point, it is our collective responsibility and challenge on the Federal Government, ministries and agencies as well as development institution such as development banks, research institution and other relevant stakeholders to develop the Nigerian shea industry to attain its rightful position as the global leader.”
The Deputy Chief of Party for the Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport Programme (NEXTT), Mr. Isaac Adegun, said shea butter holds significant potential for the economy. He said if the government can give support to Shea butter processing, poverty will be eliminated from the country.
He urged the government to improve infrastructure on the shea butter corridors of country to stimulate the sector.
According to him, the nation’s population along the corridor is over 60 per cent and if adequately taken care of, will exit the nation out of recession.
He said: “The other reason why government should develop the rail and road transport sector is to ensure the raw materials are removed from the hinterland to the processing centres especially now that the European Union (EU) has high demand for it in the chocolate manufacturing sector based on the new law making it mandatory for chocolate manufacturers to accommodate atleast 15 per cent of Shea butter content into their manufacturing process.”
He praised the United States Agency for International Development ((USAID) for its support for three value chain products of shea butter, cocoa and cashew. On cashew, he faulted the slow development of cashew by government insisting that it holds significant potential for the Nigerian economy.
He observed that by connecting producers and ex-porters of cashew nuts to major markets around the world and providing technical support, NEXTT is helping Nigerian cashew stakeholders to earn an expected $350 million in foreign exchange.
On where the shea butter is avaiable in the country, Adegun said it is predominantly found in Niger, Oyo and Kwara states.