Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC), the specialty oils and fats business of Bunge Limited (NYSE:BG), has opened its state-of-the-art shea butter processing facility in Tema.
The Company aims to build a resilient and sustainable shea supply chain in Africa.
The cutting edge processing plant marks the Company’s latest investment to meet the growing demand for shea globally.
The plant formed part of its efforts to protect and advance the shea supply chain in West Africa.
“Our latest investment in Ghana plays a critical role in strengthening BLC’s global infrastructure for processing and supplying high-quality shea products to our customers around the world, while also bolstering the entire ecosystem of regional crushers and local shea collectors in the West African region,” Mr Aaron Buettner, President, BLC, said.
He said the facility allowed the Company to meaningfully support and empower the local shea communities through the transfer of knowledge of value, adding processes, and by investing in local skills development.
“We are proud to join forces with local communities to help build and advance the African shea industry together,” he added.
Operating since 2019, the facility is BLC’s first shea processing plant in Africa and the largest of its kind on the continent.
“The facility is a fully automated solvent fractionation plant that processes raw shea butter made from locally collected and crushed shea nuts,” said Antoine Turpin, the General Manager West Africa at BLC.
“Currently, the facility employs 73 people from mostly the local community. Its strategic location not only allows for a more efficient production process, but it also delivers on BLC’s commitment to building a more sustainable supply chain for shea,” he said.
A campaign dubbed “Where Life Grows” has also been launched to celebrate the milestone.
The campaign, a tribute to the long-standing shea legacy in the region, is designed to celebrate BLC’s ongoing commitments and efforts within its shea sustainability programme.
The programme was set up three years ago to empower shea collecting women, create socio-economic value in their communities, and conserve and regenerate the shea landscape in the region.
Shea, also recognized fondly by the locals as the ‘tree of life’, has become a vital ingredient in both food and non-food products, driving up demand for shea butter with a CAGR of 6.27% by value and 7.9% by volume until 2024. 16 million women in Africa living in rural communities and their families depend on the shea industry to financially support their households and contribute to their communities.
“We believe that the key to building a better tomorrow for shea communities is by investing in sustainable trade and income diversification,” explains Ben Vreeburg, Senior Director Sustainability for Tropical Oils at BLC.
“This belief is what brings our shea sustainability initiatives to life and the ‘Where Life Grows’ campaign captures our commitment to create value to the countries and communities where shea is originated.”
As a founding member of the Global Shea Alliance, BLC works to ensure female shea collectors in its supply chain are empowered through training, and by donating tools that enhance the women’s safety, improve their physical well-being, and make the collection process more efficient.