West African Soy Industries Limited (WASIL), a member of the TGI Group, in collaboration with the USAID-funded Global Shea Alliance (GSA), recently announced the construction and donation of 100-ton warehouses to women cooperatives in five Local Governments across Kwara State.

Alongside the warehouse, the company also donated cooking pots for cooking and drying of the nuts before storage. The donations will further ease the aggregation and storage of shea nuts, fostering inclusion and ultimately leading to economic gains in each community.

The communities – Patigi, Babanla, Fanagu, Alapa, and Gbugbu – will benefit from this initiative, providing a secure environment for bulk storage of shea nuts to minimize losses due to spoilage and pests. This will result in a more stable supply and higher quality of shea nuts, expanding income opportunities for women shea collectors in these communities.

Rafiat Gawat, Head of Corporate Communication at TGI Group, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their support in making this initiative a reality. Emphasizing TGI Group’s commitment to inclusive agricultural development, Gawat stated, “Women and youths are a core focus of our sustainability initiatives, therefore we are always keen to support them especially in agribusiness. The donations attest to this. The work the women do is invaluable as the shea from their villages go into products that traverse the world.”

The Commissioner for Business Innovation and Technology, Kwara State, Hon. Damilola Yusuf Adelodun, whose office had facilitated the registration of the women’s cooperatives, commended the TGI Group and WASIL, as well as their partners. She highlighted the alignment of such initiatives with the state government’s agricultural master plan, hence their willingness to lend their support.

Yosola Onanuga, Head of Sustainability at TGI, discussed the impact of WASIL’s sustainability efforts, noting significant improvements in productivity and business capabilities among female shea collectors. Onanuga stated, “Our program has empowered over 5,000 women in Kwara State, providing training in shea nut production, cooperative management, and agricultural best practices. This initiative not only enhances economic opportunities but also promotes environmental conservation through the planting of shea trees.”

The Managing Director, Global Shea Alliance (GSA), Aaron Adu, in his statement said, “We applaud the collaborative efforts of WASIL for their proactive approach in supporting women cooperatives across Kwara State. The construction and donation of these warehouses signify a significant step towards enhancing the economic stability of shea-producing communities. By providing the essential infrastructure for shea nut aggregation and storage, this initiative not only safeguards the quality of shea nuts but also empowers women with greater control over their livelihoods. The Global Shea Alliance is proud to collaborate on efforts that promote sustainable practices and economic empowerment within the shea industry.”

Ayinla Abosede, a woman leader for the cooperative in Alapa Community, expressed appreciation for the donation, highlighting its importance in ensuring the community’s ability to store shea nuts effectively. She also encouraged other women to join the cooperative, as they had a lot to benefit. Aminat Shuaibu, another woman leader from Patigi Community, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the positive impact on production volume and community welfare.

Complementing the Global Shea Alliance’s goal to cultivate 10 million new shea and native trees, the programme actively contributes to environmental conservation. It includes the planting of up to 5,000 shea trees, empowering women with direct involvement in environmental stewardship and effective resource management, ensuring the sustainability of the shea parkland ecosystem.

TGI Group’s sustainability efforts in agribusiness extend beyond shea to other value chains, including cocoa, cotton, rice, and sesame. Through partnerships and training programs, TGI Group aims to empower smallholder farmers and promote sustainable agriculture practice.