While in the Savannah Region on 1st May, I spent time with Akatima Jenanta, a grannie of my home (Gbazee in Tuna in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district, precisely at Liman Dia), and neighbourhood who are into organic Shea butter preparation.

Tuna and Soma , in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District have the highest number of Shea trees per land grown wild , and could be misconstrued as being planted in an effort to afforest a piece of land or vast land.

The indigenous people of this District, the Vaglas, are known to prohibit settlers of their lands from cutting down these Shea trees, and anyone found cutting such down is penalised. In fact, the late Vaglikoori Kube Jebuni is noted for his stern admonitions of recalcitrant tree fellers and punishment of such. This, I will recommend all chiefs adopt and apply strictly to protect these cash trees.

Women of the Vagla tribe and women of settlers like the Waalas, Dagaabas, and Birfors harvest these shea fruits, process them and feed local industries in other parts of Northern Ghana Tamale areas Wa areas and as far as to the Bono & Ahafo regions. These women who also process these shea nuts into shea butter sell these shea butter to buyers from Wa, Techiman, Kumasi and other towns, notably every Monday, which is Tuna market day.

Unlike indigenous Vagla men who are known to be good farmers of cereals, yams, cassava, legumes etc., Vagla Women, who per the Vagla culture are not permitted to weed or plough as men do, use their moments to gather these shea nuts, dawadawa and other fruits, nuts and vegetables in seasons. They sell their proceeds, use the proceeds to assist their husbands to cater for their children in schools.

The next time you buy Shea butter from Makola Market, Madina Market, Takoradi Market, Kumasi Asafo Market or Kejetia Markets, in Techiman Market, Sunyani Main Market, in Koforidua etc., know it could be processed in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Bole or Damongo districts of the Savannah Region. I recommend and hope that other women, especially the young and upcoming ones, find the need to trust hard works for the successes of their selves, their husbands, their children and their communities.

Going forward, I recommend government, through the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) , Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MoFA) and other ministries and agencies to work closely with MMDCEs of Shea butter processing areas to equip processers with skills towards harnessing a lot more from the shea butter value chain.

I strongly believe these women who process fruits and nuts such as Shea nuts and dawadawa fruits are with homegrown skills, which if supported, can fetch Ghana more revenue. In fact, these women in this Shea butter business sell to neighbouring countries like the Ivory Coast. They can be skilled to employ more, produce more and fetch more income for Ghana’s development.

God bless hard-working mothers of diverse vocations , especially to those who may be single parents due to circumstances beyond their controls, who do everything in their hard works to feed their children and provide them with educations.

I say ayekoo to you all.