PBC sets up subsidiary company to deal in Shea butter

The Produce Buying Company (PBC) is to establish a 10-million-dollar subsidiary company to purchase, process and market Sheanut and Shea butter in commercial quantities. The new company, PBC Shea Limited, to be sited on a 6.4 hectare at Buipe in the Northern Region near the Volta River, would export Shea butter to Brazil. Nana Timothy Aye Kusi, Chairman of Board of Directors of PBC, disclosed this at a general meeting of shareholders in Accra on Friday. He said the government, a majority shareholder in the company, would assist management to contract a 10-million-dollar loan to finance the Shea processing plant, capital expenditure and other logistics. Referring to a recent United States Agency for International Development (USAID) report, Nana Aye Kusi expressed concern about Ghana’s Shea kernels that had high concentration of Shea butter but only 58 per cent of Shea nuts were either collected or utilised. “Nearly 48 per cent of Shea nuts remain uncollected or underutilized annually in Ghana, due to lack of market for the produce,” he said. Nana Aye Kusi said the country had an estimated minimum total annual potential of 200,000 metric tonnes of Sheanut and production level was 130,000 metric tonnes, and therefore called for pragmatic measures to harness the Shea nut potential to aid the country’s socio-economic development. He said PBC had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the management of Sysgate Brazil Limitada, a Brazilian Company, to export processed Shea butter and oil to Brazil. Mr George Kwadwo Boateng, Deputy Managing Director (Operations) of PBC, said the company chose Brazil as a partner because the demand for Shea products there was economically feasible. “Brazilians are globally known for their quest for quality cosmetics. They take good care of their skin. With a population of about 190 million, we can create a niche market for Shea butter and other Shea products,” he said. Mr Boateng said the purchase of the state of art processing plant to process Shea butter for sale to the Brazilian market would also provide employment and income for Ghanaians. “Furthermore, processing of the Shea nut into butter and oil will add value to the produce in addition to generating employment in several ways. Employment would be created for the collectors, gatherers and for workers as well as service providers to the factory,” he said. Mr Boateng said since Shea trees grow in the three Northern Regions as well as other parts of Ashanti, Eastern and Volta Regions, it would be easy to harness the potential contribution of the commodity to the economic development of the Regions. At the 2007 annual general meeting, it was agreed that the company ventured into Shea nut operations in addition to its current business in cocoa. Management together with the shareholders also agreed to incorporate a subsidiary company to deal in Shea butter and other Shea products.