WTO Chief Okonjo-Iweala Urges African Nations To Improve Quality Of Shea Butter Export

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News in Brief:
– The World Trade Organization urges African nations to improve the quality of their shea butter exports, citing missed economic opportunities due to failing to meet international standards.
– While acknowledging the significant role shea plays in women’s livelihoods, the organisation emphasises the need to explore finished product manufacturing to capture a larger share of the growing global market.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has called on African nations, including Nigeria, to improve the quality of their shea butter exports to meet international standards.

While highlighting the significant economic potential of the shea industry, particularly for women, Okonjo-Iweala emphasised that many shea products from Africa fail to meet export requirements due to inadequate sanitation and phytosanitary measures.

Also, she urged African countries to move beyond simply producing and processing shea butter in its raw form, and explore opportunities for manufacturing finished shea products to capture a larger share of the growing global market, which is currently valued at over $600 million, and projected to reach $850 million by 2027.

The WTO has been working with organisations like the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to assist shea producers in meeting international standards, as demonstrated by the success story of a shea cooperative in Oyo State, Nigeria. This cooperative, after receiving support from the WTO, NEPC, and the International Trade Centre, was able to secure international safety certification and significantly increase its exports and women’s incomes.

Furthermore, Okonjo-Iweala reiterated that improving shea butter quality and exploring further value addition can contribute to achieving the WTO’s core objectives of raising living standards, creating jobs, and promoting sustainable development in Africa.

Nigeria, as one of the world’s leading shea producers, has the potential to significantly benefit from this growing market by addressing quality concerns and exploring opportunities beyond primary production.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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