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page 21 Women in Biz

page 21 Women in Biz Women in Biz Page 21 Poor patronage, a setback for Shea butter business From Maryam Ahmadu-Suka, Kaduna Nigeria is very…

page 21 Women in Biz

Women in Biz Page 21

Poor patronage, a setback for Shea butter business

From Maryam Ahmadu-Suka, Kaduna

Nigeria is very rich in terms of Shea Butter nuts, unfortunately, lack of government patronage is driving many women out of the business, National Auditor General of the National Association of Shea Products ?(NASP) and Chief Executive Officer of Estadan and Fasaha Shea Industry, Hajiya Hadiza Hassan Usman Danda has said.

Speaking with our correspondent in Kaduna, she lamented that women have invested heavily in Shea Butter business, but lack the market to sell their products.

She noted that the government as a matter of urgency should create ready markets for Nigerian Shea Butter saying Ghana is exporting it and claiming it to be their.

She said, “as a member of the Kebbi State Women Cooperative Alliance, we have over 16, 000 women cooperatives in the state which Shea Butter and cosmetic formulation is a major focus. We process the Shea Butter nuts into quality Shea Butter and we use the Shea Butter to make other cosmetics including bam, cream, pomade, ?soap, oil, anti-fugal cream and hair oil.

“Shea Butter trees in Nigeria takes between 25 to 30 years to mature but in Ghana and other countries, they have made Shea Butter trees hybrid and within three years, it begins to bear seeds and these countries brag that they are the largest producers of Shea Butter in the world wereas, they got it from Nigeria through Bagudu ?in Kebbi state.”

Highlighting some challenges being faced in the Shea business, she said, “pickers are the most challenged ?because they have to leave their houses very early while it is still dark to go to the bush to pick the Shea nuts, they can get beaten by snakes or scorpions.

“I want to use this avenue to call on the government to find a way of supporting these women in carrying out their businesses for the overall benefit of the country because as that saying goes when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.

“Another challenge is that we will produce a lot of Shea Butter from the nut, but no market to sell the product, while some have the nuts, but do not have the means to process them. There is an urgent need for the groups and the government to come together and form a formidable force to move the industry forward,” she said.

She called on the government to promote export and empower the women involved in business to reach the level of packaging adding that “the Shea Butter products are exported and only a little modification is done on them and sent back to Nigeria with a branded sticker to buy at high prices.

On where she get her Shea Butter from, she said “I get it from my cooperative because we have pickers, processors and dealers of the Shea nut . Right now the Shea nut season is fact approaching because the tree has started forming flowers and I believe in not less than two, three months, the pickers will start their work.”

Explaining the processing involved in the Shea nut, she said, “We treat the Shea nuts to export quality because we do not depend only on local market but international, it begins with the picking, then it goes through a machines which brings out the refined Shea separating the seeds and the bad Shea from the good them we take from the refined Shea to make all other products.”

WEEC empowers female youths as new strategy

From Mohammed Shosanya,Lagos

A Lagos-based Women Empowerment and Enlightenment Campaign, WEEC recently assembled professionals from different walks to impact life survival and mentorship skills on youths at the University of Lagos. Our correspondent writes.

It was one day participants at the recent Women Empowerment and Enlightenment Campaign would not forget in a hurry due to the level of knowledge-sharing that took place in the course of a one-day seminar held for them by On’yva Communications, a public relations and content development agency based in Lagos.

The seminar had as its primary targets, women within the age ranges of 15 and 35, an economically active age group in the Nigerian society, but who for now have seen their potentials grossly under-utilised.

It had been holding the seminar in the last four years as a way of helping youths find their socio-economic rhythm through building their capacity.

However, the edition of the seminar which themed : ‘Men Standing Up for Women’, and on hand as facilitators were equally accomplished Nigerians in their rights, from different walks of life, individuals who could easily fill the bill as positive inspirations and role models. . And these included, foremost talk show host, former special Adviser on Information to the Edo State government and toast master, Soni Irabor; Frontline blogger and social media expert, Japheth Omojuwa, as well as Lanre Olusola and Owen Gee. It was moderated by the duo of Tosyn Bucknor and Bolanle Olukanni of Top radio FM and Ebonylife TV respectively.

Giving a background to the seminar, Mr Kayode Odukoya, the Head Coordinator, said delivering on the goals of the organisation is an agenda which his organisation tries to purse through different vehicles. “WEEC employs alternative resources to tackling the perennial problem of these women; Part of our resolve is to promote icons of successful women who have weathered the storms and shown impressive quality in survival in different spheres of life.

According to him: “Our strategy is to target developing growing ladies with the possibilities of catching them young, educating and preparing them for later life. Actualizing their economic potentials with a new mindset is key to increasing the overall productivity in small units of the society. We are saddled with the sole responsibility of helping female individuals so they can strive to the best in any chosen career.”

Tosyn Bucknor, one of the anchors told the audience that the organisers were interested in finding out how women could be better supported in society, and that as a woman, who was a daddy’s friend, she is well aware that life is a lot easier with manly support. “Me for example, I have always wanted my dad to be proud of me in whatever I do. I still relate with my dad as if I am five years old, and I know what it is like when as a woman, you have supportive men”.

Also speaking important role of men in the lives and aspirations of women, Bolanle Olukanni obsesrved however that currently, most positions of power are occupied by men. She added that it had become necessary for women to factor men while trying to agitate for better prospects.

Irabor said the foregoing more than anything else, underscores the important place of women in society, affirming it would be a step in the right direction to help their cause.

Speaking in the same direction, Omojuwa agreed that a man may not amount to anything without a woman.

He added: “This is not flattery: President MuhammaduBuhari couldn’t have become the president without the vote of women.”

LanreOlusola gave a guide on personal development and the power of positive thinking which according to him is critical to the success of the young men and women. While Owen Gee hinted on why he believed women brought civilisation to the world.

The concept of celebrating successful women with the aim of instilling confidence and inspiring the young adult females was dear to me personally said Odukoya. The likes of ChiomaAjunwa, Betty Irabor, Mo Abudu, Kemi Nelson etc were recipients of the “WEEC Women of Value” Award which attracted hugh applause from the youths present.

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