Catalysing the evolution of Nigerian shea: a journey from local to global

Apr 7, 2023

Catalysing the evolution of Nigerian shea: a journey from local to global

Apr 7, 2023

Shea butter has been a staple in Nigerian households for generations, and for good reason. Shea, derived from the nuts of the shea tree, is a versatile and beneficial ingredient for skincare and other personal care products. The Nigerian shea butter sector is mainly dominated by women, who have been instrumental in its production and success. Recently, efforts by the Center for the Promotion of Imports (CBI) and Globally Cool have been made to turn Nigerian shea into an international player in the shea butter market.

Nigeria to become largest African producer

In this 4-year programme, CBI is committed to generating decent jobs for women and ensuring that shea is fairly sourced from women producers in the value chain. The center believes that it is now time, more than ever before, for Nigeria to take its place as the largest producer in Africa of shea nuts and ensure that ‘non-oil exports’ are headlined by the unexploited opportunities in the shea sector and to supply to a world that is waiting for this speciality natural product. The shea sector can generate up to $10 billion worth of export income for Nigeria over the long term. This can only take place by concerted and coordinated public and private sector efforts on a national level.

Strong focus on gender inclusion

Consultant Peter Hurst, networking partner of Globally Cool, is leading a project to promote Nigerian shea butter on an international scale, with a strong focus on gender inclusion. The programme includes three missions to Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, two awareness workshops, and a strategic conference held in September 2022. The programme has achieved strong alliances through various face-to-face and online meetings, particularly with women-led organizations such as the Shea Women’s Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and the Shea Empowerment Foundation.

Co-creating demand-led Sector Export Marketing Plan

For 2023, project activities include co-creating a demand-led Sector Export Marketing Plan (SEMP), assessing the current services of the Business Support Organisations (BSOs), providing a user-friendly SEMP workbook, incorporating the new Nigeria Shea brand, and participating in MoM for four BSOs. The development of the SEMP will be led by institutional expert Peter Hurst and co-created by BSOs such as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the National Shea Products Association of Nigeria (NASPAN), and SWAN.

Brand name: Shea Nigeria

In addition, Shea Nigeria has been put forward by the BSOs as the chosen name for the entity that will carry the brand, develop the sector export marketing plan (SEMP), and represent the national interests of all in the Nigerian shea sector. This entity will also be responsible for improving the export-enabling environment for all shea exporters, particularly women-led MSMEs, cooperatives, and export trading organizations.

Successful collaborations, leading to economic opportunities for women

The programme’s success can be attributed to the collaboration of BSOs and the efforts to create a demand-led SEMP, assess the current services of BSOs, and incorporate the new Nigeria Shea brand while also prioritising gender inclusion. The programme aims to establish Nigerian shea as an international player in the shea butter market and provide economic opportunities for women in the process.

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