A Survey-Based Qualitative Analysis of the Institutional Structures and Policy Measures in the Shea Sector of Ghana

Martha Adimabuno Awo


Shea is an important tree crop for women in the three impoverished northern regions of Ghana and is considered to be a major source of poverty alleviation in these regions. The crop is picked in the wild as nuts mainly by women who sell the nuts to processors. These nuts are processed into butter and soap for local use and/or for exports. Institutional structures, from a variety sources including the cultural environment, community support systems and the State regulatory and support mechanisms, shape the opportunities, constraints and obstacles facing women pickers and local processors who rely on shea as an important source of income and economic empowerment. Both State and non-State institutions in Ghana have designed various policy interventions and programmes for the shea sector with the objective of reducing market failures of the sector and to improve incomes of shea-producing households. Based on a relatively large survey of 405 shea-producing households in selected districts of the Northern Region of Ghana, this paper discusses the institutional structures and policy measures in the shea sector in Ghana. From the perspective of the survey respondents, there is not enough coordination of programmes and policies among the various institutions in the shea sector. Respondents feel that the shea sector is largely unregulated; various actors take actions mainly for their own benefits and not necessarily for the benefit of the whole sector. Organised groups of shea-producing households are more likely to improve their chances of being impacted by programmes and policies of State and non-State institutions than unorganized individual shea-producing households.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/rwe.v9n2p24

Research in World Economy
ISSN 1923-3981(Print)ISSN 1923-399X(Online)


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