Women groups at Kpugi, a farming community in the Gushegu Municipality in the Northern Region, have been provided with a US$75,000 shea butter processing facility.
The facility, with a milling machine, an office, a water supply system and a shed, is to help increase economic opportunities for the women who collect and process shea nuts and also help boost shea butter production in the country.
The initiative is by Grameen Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), with funding from the Government of Japan under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGHSP).
Until the inauguration of the facility, women in the area, who were into shea nut picking and processing, resorted to the traditional method of processing shea nuts, which was tedious and time consuming.
Speaking at a brief ceremony to inaugurate the facility at Kpugi last Monday, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Ghana, Mr Hiromoto Oyama, said: “As the shea butter business is one of the few employment opportunities available to women in northern Ghana, this processing centre is expected to help advance the living standard and empowerment of women in this community”.
He noted that the project would go a long way to help build a strong foundation to promote the “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda, through livelihood growth and empowerment of women who would be essential contributors towards the national agenda.
According to Mr Oyama, the governments of Ghana and Japan had been collaborating in various areas of development, which demonstrated the fruits of close relations between the two countries over the past years.
For his part, the Executive Director of Grameen Ghana, Mr Mohammed Al-Hassan Adams, gave an assurance that his outfit would continue to monitor the facility to ensure that it was used for the intended purpose, explaining that, the main vision of his outfit was to ensure food security and empower women economically to enable them support the upkeep of their children, and also to alleviate poverty.
The Member of Parliament for the Gushegu Constituency, Dr Ziblim Iddi, who was also present, commended Grameen Ghana and its partner for the gesture, saying the initiative would help enhance the livelihood of women in Kpugi and its surrounding communities.
He pledged a seed capital of GH¢6,000 for the women groups to enable them to start operating the facility.
Some women who spoke to the Daily Graphic expressed their gratitude to the NGO for providing them with the facility, adding that it would help improve their livelihood and enable them to take care of their families.