• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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NEPC targets 15m jobs for women from shea nut export


 The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says it will create over 15 million jobs for women in the next two years through the export of shea nut.

Omowunmi Osibo, the director, product development department of NEPC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos that the council had contacted the regulatory agencies over the issue.

According to Osibo, NEPC has begun the training of the operators on sourcing logistics, quality regulation, processing innovations, business modelling, social accountability, cosmetic’s formulation and soap-making, among others.

She said that women were targeted because millions of women across West Africa participated directly in the shea nut industry.

She said that the market for shea nut had appreciated in recent times by providing of income and job opportunities for countries producing it.

Osibo reiterated that the European Union policy of five percent inclusion of cocoa butter, an equivalent of shea butter in chocolate manufacturing since 2000 had increased its export.

“This regulation has opened up new opportunities for butter producing countries.

“We will reposition the sector for Nigeria to maximise the benefits”, she said.

She said that the sixth annual conference of the Global Shea Alliance tagged ‘Shea 2013’ hosted by Nigeria in March in Abuja was designed to ensure that Nigeria benefitted from the growing market.

She added that the council had initiated a lot of programmes across the country to meet the target.

She said that shea nut was currently produced in Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Kebbi, and Ogun, among other states.

Osibo noted that besides export, the priority attention to the crop would boost wealth creation and provide raw materials for food and cosmetic industries.

According to her, though Nigeria is one of the leading exporting nations of shea nut globally, it is yet to take advantage of the vast opportunities that exist in its export.

She, however, listed the challenges facing the sector to include poor production quality, the lack of basic processing infrastructure and funding.