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SME Guide

Boosting Africa’s Shea Butter Industry: Overcoming Quality Challenges for Global Market Access

The World Trade Organization (WTO) urges African nations, including Nigeria, to improve shea butter quality to meet global export standards. This untapped potential holds immense economic benefits, particularly for women involved in the shea value chain.

  • The WTO highlights the untapped potential of shea butter, a valuable export for several West African countries.
  • Quality concerns: Many shea products from Africa fail to meet international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, hindering exports.
  • Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO Director-General, emphasizes the need to:
  • Enhance export quality:Collaborations like the WTO-NEPC-ITC initiative empower cooperatives to meet international standards, leading to increased income and opportunities for women.
  • Expand beyond raw materials: Exploring finished shea products like cosmetics can unlock further economic gains.
  • Shea butter’s economic significance:
    • Over 16 million West African women earn income from shea nut processing and farming.
    • The global shea butter market, particularly in cosmetics, is projected to reach $850 million by 2027.
  • Nigeria as a major producer:
    • Nigeria is among the top shea producers globally, with vast potential for job creation, value addition, and women’s empowerment.
    • The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is actively working to improve shea production standards.

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