Investigating the sustainability of the shea industry among rural women in Northern Ghana

Yayah, Abiba (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

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.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Na die aanhoudende agteruitgang van die kakaobedryf in Ghana gedurende die vroeë 1970's, het die regering van Ghana gefokus op die bevordering van sheanut en botter as een van die nietradisionele gewasse om die land se buitelandse valuta-verdienste te diversifiseer. Die sheaindustrie in Noord-Ghana is 'n formidabele sektor wat dien as 'n kannaal vir werkskepping en 'n bron van inkomste vir die duisende landelike vroulike shea-akteurs wat betrokke is. Ten einde die aanhoudende lae shea-neut- en botterinkomste reg te stel, is die shea-uitvoerbeleid, wat 'n strukturele aanpassingsprogram was, in die laat 1980's en vroeë negentigerjare deur die regering van Ghana geïmplementeer. Hierdie beleid het bestaan uit die privatisering van openbare ondernemings, die liberalisering van die handel om uitvoere te verhoog en die instelling van institusionele hervormings om die staat se betrokkenheid by die bedryf te verslap en te verminder. Ten spyte die beduidende vordering wat die bedryf as gevolg van hierdie beleid behaal het, het die inherente geslagsvooroordeel en patriargale stelsel in Noord-Ghana, tesame met die dinamika van die uitvoering van hierdie beleid, vrugbare gronde gelewer vir die voortgesette geslagsongelykheid en die ontginning van vroue in landelike gebiede. Hierdie studie het 'n leemte in inligting oor die volhoubaarheid van die industrie onder vroue in die platteland geïdentifiseer as gevolg van die bogenoemde transformasie van die shea-industrie na 'n ander ekonomiese nis en probeer om hierdie gaping te oorbrug. Die feministiese standpuntteorie en Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, die twee teoretiese raamwerke wat hierdie studie onderlê, was onontbeerlik om die lewensbestaan van landelike vroulike as die primêre produsente van sheanut en botter en die instellings wat hul lewensbestaan vorm, te verstaan. Hierdie raamwerke het die studie ondersteun om die bydraes van vroue in die platteland tot die shea-industrie te ontbloot en erken deur om hul ervarings te vertel. In hierdie studie word 'n gemengde metodologie en 'n aantal metodes gebruik, insluitende: literatuuroorsig; gevallestudie; deelnemende benaderings - hoofsaaklik onderhoude en fokusgroepe; en oorsaaklike lusdiagramme. Die data wat deur hierdie metodes gegenereer is, is gebruik om die doelstellings van die studie te beantwoord. Die eerste doelstelling bepaal die uitdagings wat vroulike plattelandse vroue in die shea-industrie in Ghana ondervind. Die tweede doelstelling identifiseer beleid in die bedryf. Die finale doel is om 'n oorsaak-lusdiagram op te stel om die volhoubaarheid van die shea-industrie onder vroue in die platteland te ondersoek as gevolg van die shea-uitvoerbeleid. Die resultate van hierdie studie dui op die talle uitdagings wat vroulike shea-neutverwerkers op die platteland ondervind en shea-botterekstraktore tydens hul verskillende aktiwiteite vir die verwerking van shea-neute en / of botter van boom tot tafel. Opeenvolgende regerings in Ghana van 2002 tot 2017, deur middel van die jaarlikse begrotingsverklaring en ekonomiese beleid, het verskeie beleidsrigtings en strategiese ingrepe voorgestel en geïmplementeer om die shea-industrie op te knap ná die implementering van die shea-uitvoerbeleid. Hierdie beleid en intervensies is stelselmatig ontleed. Die resultate van hierdie studie identifiseer die kloof en die gebrek aan samehang tussen beleid en intervensies op nasionale vlak en agendas op die plattelandse vlak. Ander faktore soos die gebrek aan koördinering en ondersteuning in die uitvoering van beleidsrigtings, en die seksistiese kulturele houdings wat in Noord-Ghana heers, is uitdagings wat die uitvoerbaarheid, aanvaarbaarheid en effektiwiteit van die beleidsrigtings en intervensies beïnvloed. Die doel van die oorsaaklusdiagramme in hierdie studie konseptualiseer die kompleksiteite inherent in die shea-industrie en illustreer eksplisiet hoe die veranderlikes in wisselwerking is. Deur die oorsaaklusdiagramme te ontwikkel, kan die hefboompunte vir strategiese intervensies geïdentifiseer word om voordele te maksimeer, terwyl negatiewe gevolge geminimaliseer word. Dit illustreer twee belangrike eienskappe van die bedryf, naamlik dat dit 'n komplekse industrie is wat vyf versterkingslusse het, en dat ook die bereiking van gewenste uitkomste strategiese ingrepe benodig. 'n Shea-raamwerk van ingrypings word in hierdie studie voorgestel en bestaan uit 'n multiplatform-sakemodel vir shea-akteurs en 'n regulatoriese raamwerk vir shea-neut en botter om by te dra tot die volhoubaarheid van die shea-industrie in Noord-Ghana.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108053
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