Sep 13, 2022

Upfield joins Fuji Oil’s Shea Sustainability Program “Tebma Kandu” and donates warehouse and safety items to women in Bongbini, Ghana.

Together, Fuji Oil and Upfield have just taken a next step on the road towards sustainable shea. Upfield, a global leader in plant-based nutrition and producer of the iconic Blue Band spread, joined Fuji Oil’s Tebma Kandu program with the commissioning of a 100 tonnes warehouse in Bongbini, North of Bowku, Ghana. Over a 1,000 local shea collectors, mainly women, will benefit from the storage facility as it creates opportunities for economic growth and development.

Tebma Kandu; building a future for sustainable shea and local women

Fuji Oil officially launched its shea sustainability program “Tebma Kandu” in 2021. The name is Mampruli (a Ghanian local language) for “push me and I will climb”, a perfect match with the purpose of the program: pushing the women cooperatives (35 and counting) with coaching, training, warehouses, safety equipment, prefinancing and other tools to become mature organizations capable of empowering their female members.
Managing Director of Fuji Oil Ghana, Mr. Ronny Voorspools: “Tebma Kandu itself is also “pushed” by a large number of partnerships: upstream by the Sustainable Shea Initiative program of the Global Shea Alliance and their partners in the field, by the Presbyterian Agricultural Services, the Green World Initiative and the Parkland Restoration Program of Eco Restore, but now for the first time downstream as well: by Upfield, an important customer of Fuji Oil Ghana for shea olein.”

The Tebma Kandu program enhances the community’s ability to produce high quality shea kernels, makes our shea products traceable and creates a sustainable future for local women. It makes the women collectors less dependent on fluctuations in the shea kernel business by making sure they’re paid fairly, directly (no middlemen) and upfront. To date, more than 25,000 women in Ghana have been provided with a more sustainable future through the program.

Fuji Oil’s Shea Sustainability Program targets, by 2030, 75% traceability to village (50% by 2025) and 50% of shea nuts procured through Tebma Kandu co-ops (30% by 2025). Furthermore, we aim for 50% extra permanent employment in our factory in Ghana, creating financial stability for local families. Reduction of environmental footprint and reforestation are additional KPI’s for this project.

Joining Fuji Oil’s Tebma Kandu program marks next phase of Upfield’s Shea Sustainability Project

In their partnership with Fuji Oil Ghana, Upfield targets the improvement of livelihoods, health and safety of women shea collectors. Besides the warehouse, which will serve as a central location for shea nut aggregation for the women, Upfield is providing health and safety equipment including gloves, gogles, torch lights and first aid boxes, to minimize their exposure to health and safety risks which may arise during shea collection and storage.
Moses Bamidele Amao, Managing Director of Upfield West Africa, stated that by providing the tools, trainings, and support necessary to help the women increase the quantity and quality of shea kernels they collect, they are improving the livelihoods of not only the women, but their families. “According to statistics, women put 90% of their money back into their families as opposed to males who only contribute 35%. It becomes clear from this that empowering a woman also empowers a generation. We therefore owe it to the communities where the shea kernels used in our products are collected, to assist in providing these women shea collectors with the training, financial empowerment, and tools they need to enhance their standard of living”.
“By empowering these women economically within a system that encourages support for one another, we hope to inspire them to recognize the value that they bring to society and the importance of carrying each other along. We also want them to see the way their work connects through dots in the shea value chain leading to the production of valuable finished products. There is an indisputable return in strengthening women in society not necessarily for themselves alone, but for the larger good of the entire community and the country's economy", he added.

Both Fuji Oil and Upfield are members of Global Shea Alliance

About the Fuji Oil Group

The Fuji Oil Group, with headquarters in Japan, is a manufacturer of plant-based food solutions in the fields of four key businesses: specialty oils & fats, industrial chocolate, emulsified & fermented ingredients and soy-based ingredients, which ranges from soy protein products to soy-based processed food products. Fuji Oil’s Ghana-based production facility (Fuji Oil Ghana, FOG) specializes in the fractionation of shea butter producing shea stearin, used as an ingredient for CBE fats and other functional fat applications within the Fuji Oil Group, and shea olein mainly sold on the local West-African market as an ingredient for food and cosmetic purposes.
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About Upfield

Upfield is the largest plant-based consumer products company in the world and the #1 producer of plant-based spreads and cheeses, with more than 100 brands worldwide. (By "plant-based", we mean our products are largely or exclusively sourced from plant sources.) With headquarters in Amsterdam, we sell our products in over 95 countries and have 14 manufacturing sites throughout the world, including 1 in Ghana. The company employs over 4200 associates. At Upfield, our purpose is to make people healthier and happier with great-tasting, plant-based nutrition products that are better for the planet. We are focused on delivering healthier products that are great tasting and have superior quality, which helps us deliver on our mission to create a "Better Plant-based Future."