A sheanut processing factory estimated at GH¢88,000 has commenced operation at Kuga in the Yendi municipality of the Northern Region.
The factory comprises of administration block, shea butter storage facility, kitchen for processing, machine rooms, sheanut storage rooms and a mechanised borehole.
The Yendi Catholic Bishop, the Most Rev Vincent Sowah Boi-Nai, who inaugurated the project, said it was funded by the Diocese of Muenstie in Germany.
Bishop Boi-Nai said the aim of the project was to help the rural poor women, who are engaged in shea butter production to be able to produce quality shea butter for export.
He said even though it was a church project it was for all women in the Diocese.
He appealed to Christians, Muslims and traditional worshipers, who are engaged in the production of shea butter, to work together and see poverty as the common enemy and to forget about ethnic and religious differences.
Bishop Boi-Nai said the women would be supported with loans from the Diocese of Muenstie and the Catholic Diocese of Yendi, without interest and payable within three years.
He said the church decided to establish the project after the 1994 ethnic conflict to support women, who lost their husbands to enable them to support their children.
He stated that the women would be trained to produce good quality shea butter which would be marketable in all parts of the world.
Bishop Boi-Nai called on the women to form cooperative groups and register with the Department of Cooperatives to enable them to benefit from loans.
The Development Coordinator of the Yendi Diocese, Mr William Abakisi said the Church had made arrangements with buyers to solve the problem of marketing.
He, therefore, advised the women to work very hard because the demand by the exporters was so huge that if they did not work day and night they would not be able to meet it.
He stated that if they disappointed a customer the information would go round that they were not reliable and they would be blacklisted.
He indicated that similar facilities would be established at Tatale, Saboba, Bimbilla, Chereponi and Chamba allin the Northern region.
He said more than 500 women from seven women cooperative groups were benefiting from the project.
The Northern Regional Cooperative Officer, Mr Fuseini Mohammed, who presented certificates of registration to the seven women cooperative groups, said the certificates indicated that the women groups were duly registered and could take legal action against any customer, who failed to pay for their products.
Mr Fuseini stated that the certificates would also help them to obtain loans from the banks and other credit organizations.
He advised the women to work in consultation with the Yendi Municipal Cooperative Officer for more training to be able to work successfully and also keep their funds well through savings with the banks.
Mr Fuseini said the Department of Cooperatives would organise training programmes for them.
He mentioned some of the groups, which had received their certificates as Kuga Banabebu Women Cooperative Sheanut Processing and Marketing Society; Yendi Cathedral Christian Mothers Sheanut Processing and Marketing Association and Nadundo Women Cooperative Sheanut Processing and Marketing Society.