The Deputy Minister-Designate for Northern Region, Hon. John Jabaah Bennam, has stated that there should be a legislation to regulate the price of shea nuts produced in the country for the benefit of farmers.
Hon. Jabaah Bennam indicated that the government, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and other relevant stakeholders should see the need to prepare a bill on the pricing of shea nuts, and present to Parliament for approval.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Appointments for vetting on a Deputy Regional Ministerial portfolio, Hon. Jabaah Bennam pointed out that there are no laws protecting shea nut farmers in the country, and that the farmers lose a lot during harvest.
He informed the Committee that the Western World are exploiting local farmers on the pricing of shea nuts.
Hon. Jabaah Bennam explained further that shea nuts exported in its raw state affect the pricing and value, and that farmers are always at the losing end.
He added that foreign investors are investing in the shea nut sector, to feed foreign industries for production and addition of value.
On shea nuts laws in other countries, the Deputy Minister-Designate for Northern Region, reiterated that Burkina Faso, as a neighbouring country, has passed a legislation, to protect the price of shea nuts.
Status of Shea Nuts in the Country
Answering a question on the performance of shea nuts in the country, particularly in the Northern parts of Ghana, Hon. Jabaah Bennam indicated that shea nuts are becoming more popular than cocoa, and that products from shea nuts are more expensive than products from cocoa.
Hon. Jabaah, again stated that there has been consistent progress in the pricing of shea nuts on the world market as compared to the price of cocoa.
He also revealed that the shea nut market is very attractive for investors but its pricing does not inure to the benefit of the shea nuts farmers.
Unemployment versus Violent Behaviours
The Deputy Minister-Designate for Northern Region pointed out that the recent illegal takeovers of public institutions by the youth in some parts of the Northern Region is due to high unemployment rate in the region.
He explained that the challenge of unemployment sometimes gives the grounds for the youth, to engage in drug abuse and other social vices.
Hon. Jabaah Bennam suggested that it is important to pay much attention to youth unemployment in the country and support them, to come out of the challenge of unemployment.
He told the Appointments Committee that, public education should be done extensively to prevent the youth from engaging in illegal takeovers of public institutions.
Unattractive Nature of the Agricultural Sector
Speaking on the agricultural sector in the Northern parts of Ghana, Hon. Jabaah Bennam stated that the sector is unattractive due to the nature of farming systems in the area.
Explaining that the nature of farming and crop production in the region does not encourage the youth to venture into the agricultural sector.
He added that there must be a way to improve the sector, to attract more of the unemployed youth to engage in agriculture.
He also suggested that the government should put in place attractive agricultural initiatives through funding and support, to push the youth into the agribusiness.
Hon. Jabaah Bennam was a Member of Parliament for two consecutive terms, from January 7, 2013 to January 6, 2017 under the Fifth and Sixth Parliament respectively.
He served as a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Appointments, Parliametary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprise, and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on House under the Fifth Parliament.
He also served as a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Standing Orders, and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprise under the Sixth Parliament.
Hon. Jabaah Bennam was a Deputy Minister for Manpower Development and Employment in 2001 to 2005.
He was assigned to take charge of social welfare, co-operatives and Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs).