West African shea processors—including Zikora and Fludor from Benin, Ruby Unique Natural Premium Products from Nigeria and Charles K. Boateng from Ghana—currently export to other African countries and Europe.
On March 15, the last day of the 2017 annual conference of the Global Shea Alliance in Cotonou, Benin, around 50 shea butter producers and exporters learned about U.S. exporting opportunities under the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“African shea butter producers and exporters have not benefited from AGOA because they lack market linkage and are plagued with financial constraints, “said Dr. Mohamed Abou iiana, the Trade Hub’s Senior AGOA Specialist.
Some of these processors have tried to enter the American market and faced challenges such as product certification. For example, Ruby Unique Natural Premium Products sent samples to Walgreens stores in the U.S. after their products were certified by the Food and Drugs Administration and American Shea Butter Institute as over the counter drugs.
Ruby Unique Natural Premium Products did not succeed in exporting on a larger scale, due to financial challenges. The company is now looking to seize the opportunity to export under the preferential trade agreement.
“This conference has been a great avenue for networking, meeting buyers and connecting with other African producers,” said Mr. Kingsley Ebhodaghe, Chief Operating Officer of Ruby Unique Natural Premium Products of Nigeria.