The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Stephanie Sullivan yesterday commissioned a shea butter processing and warehousing facility at Sorogu, a farming community in the Sagnarigu Municipality of the Northern Region.
The facility which is meant to offer jobs for 600 women who pick and process shea nuts in the area, was put up by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with Burt's Bees, an American company and the Savannah Fruits Company, Ghana.
It is also forms part of the USA government's efforts to partner communities, companies and NGOs in West Africa to expand economic fortunes of women.
The provision of the facility was in line with the Global Shea Alliance's Sustainable Shea Initiative which was launched in 2016 in partnership with USAID to promote the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
Ambassador Sullivan stressed the importance of shea tree, and thereby, urged all to take measures to protect the facility.
"As we invest in shea cooperatives and communities, we also seek the communities' continued partnership to protect the shea trees and parklands to secure the sustainability of the shea industry for our children and the generations that follow," the Ambassador stated.
She assured the US government's commitment to continue to support initiatives to improve incomes of women, and lauded the project's partners as she was optimistic it would help improve lives of the communities.
"The opening of this shea processing and warehousing facility is an important accomplishment that demonstrates what is possible to achieve when we all work together," the Ambassador said, and maintained that the USAID would continue to work with Global Shea Alliance and communities to realise the goals.
Mr Aaron Adu, Managing Director of Global Shea Alliance hinted that in July this year, members of the Alliance would plant about one million shea trees across the West African sub-region
He said the project was part of efforts to ensure the sustainability of shea trees in the various countries.
Madam Mary Naab Alhassan, Leader of Tiyuntaba Women's Shea Cooperative commended the USA government and all the partners for the assistance.
She said the facility would not only help increase the production of organic shea butter, but it vwould also go a long way to empower women in shea nut picking.