The Shea Industry and Rural Livelihoods among Women in the Wa Municipality, Ghana

Type Journal Article - Journal of Social Science Studies
Title The Shea Industry and Rural Livelihoods among Women in the Wa Municipality, Ghana
Volume 3
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 40-56
The majority of rural population in Ghana are faced with poverty, especially in northern
Ghana which records the highest poverty levels. Despite the potential of the shea industry to
contribute to alleviating poverty among rural women, little attention has been given to the
industry. This paper examined the shea industry as a source of livelihood among rural women
as well as the challenges women faced in the industry in Wa Municipality. Cross-sectional
research design was employed and data were collected using questionnaires. The results of
the study indicate that 93.7% of the women participated in the shea value chain as a main source of livelihood strategy; as much as 69.8% of the respondents in the shea industry
produce for both subsistence and commercial purposes; majority of the respondents (96%)
were engaged in fresh nut collection as well as home processing of nuts, and 86.5% were
engaged in shea butter processing; the average annual income per person was GH¢846.85;
however, the average annual income for butter processors was much higher than that of nut
processors; and the major challenges confronting women in the shea industry includes:
limited access to investment capital; cutting down of live shea trees; lack of modern
processing equipment and training; and poor pricing of shea products in the local market. The
paper calls on government to formulate a clear cut policy for the industry, particularly on
marketing of the shea products to make the industry lucrative for women while at the same
time increasing the export base of shea products.

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