Northern Ghana has been left behind as the rest of the country reports impressive economic growth. Most families in Northern Ghana rely on subsistence agriculture in a harsh, dry climate that is prone to drought and other impacts of climate change. Poverty and food insecurity are higher in this region than elsewhere in the country. Non-timber forest products (NTFPs – essentially any product that can be obtained from a tree other than wood) offer one of the few options for diversifying income sources and improving livelihoods. They enable families to meet basic needs, and provide extra money for food when crops fail. Whilst trade in these products does exist in Northern Ghana, it is poorly organised, starved of necessary investment and unsupported by regional and national policy.

TREE AID is working directly with 8,000 NTFP producers in 22 communities across the 3 Northern regions of Ghana. These producers have established small cooperative businesses selling shea nuts, shea butter, forest honey and baobab fruit and see this project as an opportunity to build these businesses and create pathways out of poverty for their families. The majority (65%) of these producers are women, as women are traditionally those who gather and process NTFPs for household use.

Imani Development was contracted by TREE AID to undertake a rapid value chain assessment of four NTFPs, namely Shea Nut, Shea Butter, Baobab Products, and Honey Products. Findings were reported to highlight where TREE AID could best intervene in the value chains to support increased and improved supply, ultimately increasing the sustainability of harvester livelihoods, and improving market characteristics (including developing a market in some instances).

Specific tasks performed by Imani Development included:

1. Pro-Poor Value Chain Analysis
2. SWOT Analysis of NTFP Value Chains
3. Provision of Market Summary
4. Sustainable Livelihoods Assessment on Value Chains
5. Case Study Development