Monday, August 11, 2014

Stakeholders in shea sector Warn Saboteurs of Ghana Nuts

Shea butter/nuts

Several hundreds of the members of the Sheanut Farmers, Buyers and Processors Association of Ghana are currently fuming with rage over an alleged attempt by the Management of Ghana Nuts Company Limited to prevent the establishment of the new privately owned Sheanut Processing Factory to boost the sheanut business in the three Northern Regions.

The aggrieved farmers, who have heavily thrown their weight behind the establishment of the new Sheanut Processing Factory by one Mrs. Dora Harborsutie Torwiseh, threatened never to do business with Ghana Nuts if the Management did not desist from preventing the new factory from coming on board to serve the suffering farmers up north. 

Speaking at an emergency Press Conference held in Tamale, the National Secretary of the Shea Nut Farmers, Buyers and Processors Association of Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Abu Alhassan condemned the “attempt by Ghana Nuts to sabotage the good efforts Mrs. Dora Torwisey, who formerly worked as Procurement Manager at Ghana Nuts Limited but was unjustifiably fired by the company”.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Nuts, Mr Obed Asante according to the Sheanut farmers association instructed the Human Resource Manager, one Clement Akandy to terminate the appointment of Mrs Dora Torwiseh for reasons yet to be established.

The company they said also failed to compensate Mrs. Dora Torwiseh for the unlawful termination of her appointment and went ahead to issue a “disclaimer” in the media allegedly describing her as an imposter who was still hiding behind Ghana Nuts credibility to exploit the sheanut farmers in the three Northern Regions. 

The Association therefore challenged the Management of Ghana Nuts to provide evidence to suggest that Mrs. Dora Torwiseh was using the name of the company to exploit the farmers.

But the farmers who described Mrs. Dora Torwiseh as “an iconic personality within the sheanut industry, said that the Management of Ghana Nuts was only envious of the vision set out by her to maximize the experiences gained during her work period with Ghana nuts to also establish her own factory.

“During 2010 alone, through the noble leadership of Mrs Dora Torwiseh, the sheanuts volume for Ghana Nuts Limited grew from a meager 4,000 tons per annum to 43,000 tons per annum. She was able to identify more women and used them to form networks to enhance productivity and profits for the women and men in the industry”.

women processing shea butter
The aggrieved Sheanut Farmers who accused the Management of Ghana Nuts of using similar tactics to virtually collapsing the Sheanut Factory that was established by the Produce Buying Company (PBC) in Buipe in the Central Gonja District of the Northern Region by blatantly refusing to release an amount of over three million dollars (US$3,000,000) for the purchase of raw materials. As a result, the Buipe Factory according to the farmers had not been functioning in the last 18 months.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Nuts Limited had reportedly used huge sums of dollars to build Sheanut Crushing Plant in all the way Burkina Faso, which they asserted, violated the government of Ghana’s policy of promoting non-traditional exports.

 The Sheanut farmers who have vowed never to do business with Ghana nuts also entreated all persons and corporate institutions in the three Northern Regions who believed in the sustainable development of the shea nuts and soya beans value chains to cut away all their business relationship with Ghana Nuts.

“We are appealing to respectable corporate bodies like the USAID-ADVANCE, AAK, Wilma, 3F, Shebu Industries, PBC shea and loders crooklaan to also stop any dealings with Ghana Nuts or risk facing the same consequences.

According to them, the establishment of the Sheanut Processing factory by Mrs. Dora Torwiseh did not only has the potential to reduce the difficulties, risks and frustrations farmers undergo in getting their nuts to Techiman, but would also give employment to most of the youth in the three regions of the north.

The company is expected to give employment to over 50,000 youth who previously would have migrated to the south of Ghana to engage in kayaye. 

The Sheanut farmers therefore appealed to the Ministries of Employment and Social Welfare, Trade and Industry, Food and Agriculture and Gender and Social Protection to support the initiative of Mrs Dora Torwiseh to encourage more women and the youth to go into the shea business.

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