Browsing by Author "Yayah, Abiba"
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- ItemInvestigating the sustainability of the shea industry among rural women in Northern Ghana(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-03) Yayah, Abiba; Gouws, Amanda; De Lange, Louis; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Political Science.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Following the persistent decline of the cocoa industry in Ghana during the early 1970s, the government of Ghana focused on the promotion of shea nuts and butter as one of the nontraditional crops to diversify the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The shea industry in Northern Ghana is a formidable sector in serving as a conduit for job creation and a source of income for the thousands of rural women shea actors involved. In order to remedy the persistently low shea nut and butter revenues, the shea export policy which was a structural adjustment program was implemented by the Government of Ghana in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This policy consisted of the privatization of public enterprises, liberalizing trade to increase exports and the introduction of institutional reforms to relax and reduce the state’s involvement in the industry. In spite of the significant strides the industry has achieved as a result of this policy, the inherent gender bias and patriarchal system in Northern Ghana coupled with the dynamics of the execution of this policy produced fertile grounds for the continued gender inequality and the exploitation of rural women. This study identified a gap in information on the sustainability of the industry among rural women as a result of the above transformation of the shea industry to a different economic niche and sought to bridge this gap. The feminist standpoint theory and Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, the two theoretical frameworks undergirding this study, proved indispensable in understanding the livelihoods of rural women primary producers of shea nuts and butter and the institutions that shape their livelihoods. These frameworks supported this study in uncovering and acknowledging the contributions of rural women to the shea industry through the recounting of their experiences. This study uses a mixed methodology and utilized a number of methods; including literature review, case study, participatory approaches – mainly interviews and focus groups – and causal loop diagrams. The data generated through these methods were used in answering the objectives of the study. The first objective determines the challenges encountered by rural women in the shea industry in Ghana. The second objective identifies policies in the industry. The final objective constructs a causal loop diagram to investigate the sustainability of the shea industry among rural women as a result of the shea export policy. The results of this study indicate the myriad challenges rural women shea nut processors and shea butter extractors encounter in their various activities of processing shea nuts and/or butter from tree to table. Successive governments in Ghana from 2002 to 2017 through the annual budget statement and economic policy have proposed and implemented several policies and strategic interventions to revamp the shea industry after the implementation of the shea export policy. These policies and interventions were systematically analyzed. The results of this study identifies the chasm and the lack of cohesiveness between policies and interventions at the national level and rural development agendas at the regional level. Other factors such as the lack of coordination and support in enacting policies, and the sexist cultural attitudes prevalent in Northern Ghana posed as challenges affecting the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the policies and interventions. The purpose of the causal loop diagrams in this study conceptualizes the complexities inherent in the shea industry and explicitly illustrates how the variables interact. Developing the causal loop diagrams enables the identification of leverage points for strategic interventions to maximize benefits while minimizing negative impacts. It illustrates two important attributes of the industry namely that it is a complex industry that has five reinforcing loops, and also that achieving desired outcomes requires strategic interventions. A shea framework of interventions is proposed in this study and consists of a shea actor multi-platform business model and a shea nut and butter regulatory framework to contribute to the sustainability of the shea industry in Northern Ghana.