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Shea Butter Production as an Income Generating Activity for
Women in Rural Africa: Solving the “Paradox of paradoxa”

Dr. ...
• The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa ssp.
Paradoxa) populates 21 sub-Saharan African
countries, around 3.7 million square ...
• The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa ssp.
Paradoxa) populates 21 sub-Saharan African
countries, around 3.7 million km of s...
• The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa ssp.
Paradoxa) populates 21 sub-Saharan African
countries, around 3.7 million km of s...
• Yet paradoxically, in terms of international
trade the women collectors are invisible and
disconnected from global suppl...
What is the “Paradox of paradoxa”
(Stedman & Lovett, 2010)?
What is the “Paradox of paradoxa”
(Stedman & Lovett, 2010)?
• The majority of global [western] knowledge
associates shea b...
What is the “Paradox of paradoxa”
(Stedman & Lovett, 2010)?
• The majority of global [western] knowledge
associates shea b...
Paradox of paradoxa
For those consumers aware of shea, it has been
estimated that approximately 90% think their
shea butte...
What this means?
• Millions upon millions of women collectors
have
no visibility,
no voice,
no information, and
no opportu...
Background Information on Shea
• Shea harvesting, processing, extraction
and commercialization are still exclusively
a fem...
Background Information on Shea
• Women’s income from shea stored kernels
and shea butter is used to buy other goods
for th...
From Local to International
Requirements in the Shea Trade
• Over the past decade there has been an
increasing demand for ...
Shea as a Commodity
• Shea is an attractive commodity for the
international markets in Europe, U.S. and
Japan
Shea as a Commodity
• Shea is an attractive commodity for the
international markets in Europe, U.S. and
Japan
• African wo...
Shea as a Commodity
• Shea is an attractive commodity for the
international markets in Europe, U.S. and
Japan
• African wo...
Women and Shea
• In the case of shea, women participate in the
market by selling the raw shea nuts or the
processed shea b...
Women and Shea
• In the case of shea, women participate in the
market by selling the raw shea nuts or the
processed shea b...
Women and Shea
• In the case of shea, women participate in the
market by selling the raw shea nuts or the
processed shea b...
Shea Nuts
International Versus Local Shea
Markets
• Women often understand the needs of the
local market for the processing of the s...
Shea Cream for the Local Market
Problems
• If and when women do not have access to the
information that will allow them to produce a
product that is consi...
Knowledge and the Shea Market
• However, women need information about
best practices for storage if they are not going
to ...
International Markets Bring New
Demands
• In the international marketplace,
there are three factors that can
reduce the va...
R4D – A New
Technique for High
Quality Shea
• This approach results in
(1) low levels of free fatty acids
(FFA)
(2) no aro...
How can this
innovation be made
available to
women?
– Very new technique
– Many women are low literate
learners
– Many lan...
Meeting International Demands:
Education as a Starting Point
• Educating women in an improved processing
technique becomes...
How?
• How to provide useful information and
knowledge to women…
who live across 21 different countries,
who speak diverge...
Identifying the Bottlenecks
• The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in
the storage of dry kernels or in ...
Identifying the Bottlenecks
• The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in
the storage of dry kernels or in ...
Identifying the Bottlenecks
• The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in
the storage of dry kernels or in ...
Identifying the Bottlenecks
• The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in
the storage of dry kernels or in ...
Solutions: Use of ICT in Enabling
Empowerment of Women in a Value Chain
• Scientific Animations Without Borders
(SAWBO) ha...
Scientific Animations Without
Borders (SAWBO)
• Diversity of content
• Numerous languages
• Many different collaborative
g...
Dr. Peter Lovett

• Expert in Shea in West
Africa
• Part of the Global Shea
Alliance
• Consultant for USAID
funded West Af...
Video
completed in
mid-September
of 2013
For release in
fall of 2013
New Version of Video – Next Steps?
Next steps
– Place the video into new language variants
– Test the impact of women on l...
Other Solutions
• One opportunity for women is to organize
themselves in cooperatives
– to buy and share technology
– that...
Why?
• Potential higher incomes, e.g.
– School fees paid
– Improved family nutrition
– Better housing
Thank you
Shea butter paper presentation oct 4 brown bag cas_final
Shea butter paper presentation oct 4 brown bag cas_final
Shea butter paper presentation oct 4 brown bag cas_final
Shea butter paper presentation oct 4 brown bag cas_final
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Shea butter paper presentation oct 4 brown bag cas_final

  1. 1. Shea Butter Production as an Income Generating Activity for Women in Rural Africa: Solving the “Paradox of paradoxa” Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo Dr. Peter Lovett
  2. 2. • The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa ssp. Paradoxa) populates 21 sub-Saharan African countries, around 3.7 million square km of semi-arid zone of the sub-Saharan African Savannah http://beadforlife.org/blog/beadforlife-shea-nilotica/
  3. 3. • The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa ssp. Paradoxa) populates 21 sub-Saharan African countries, around 3.7 million km of semi-arid zone of the sub-Saharan African Savannah • It is under the domain of women (4 million + women harvest export crop) http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/12/after-fair-trade-coffee-fair-trade-shea/?_r=0
  4. 4. • The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa ssp. Paradoxa) populates 21 sub-Saharan African countries, around 3.7 million km of semi-arid zone of the sub-Saharan African Savannah • It is under the domain of women (4 million + women harvest export crop) • It also provides an ingredient to the multibillion dollar cosmetics and confectionary market http://www.watradehub.com/products/shea http://www.paradisecosmetics.com/Bakery/Bakery_Ingredients-olive-butter.htm
  5. 5. • Yet paradoxically, in terms of international trade the women collectors are invisible and disconnected from global supply chain Courtesy of the Global Shea Alliance (2012)
  6. 6. What is the “Paradox of paradoxa” (Stedman & Lovett, 2010)?
  7. 7. What is the “Paradox of paradoxa” (Stedman & Lovett, 2010)? • The majority of global [western] knowledge associates shea butter as being handmade and bought, at fair prices, from African village women before use in luxury cosmetics.
  8. 8. What is the “Paradox of paradoxa” (Stedman & Lovett, 2010)? • The majority of global [western] knowledge associates shea butter as being handmade and bought, as fair prices, from African village women before use in luxury cosmetics. • Whereas, in reality more than 90% of all shea destined for foreign markets is locally traded from the villages simply as low quality shea kernels that go to industrial processing plants.
  9. 9. Paradox of paradoxa For those consumers aware of shea, it has been estimated that approximately 90% think their shea butter is hand crafted However… 90% of actual international trade in nuts …whether in chocolate or body butters… are processed in an industrial manner
  10. 10. What this means? • Millions upon millions of women collectors have no visibility, no voice, no information, and no opportunity to change what they need to do to increase their income or, to influence the shea value chain in any shape or form • These women are completely disconnected and dis-empowered from the shea industry
  11. 11. Background Information on Shea • Shea harvesting, processing, extraction and commercialization are still exclusively a female activity • Participation of women in increasing the value of their shea products for the international shea value chain has the potential to help them increase their incomes
  12. 12. Background Information on Shea • Women’s income from shea stored kernels and shea butter is used to buy other goods for their livelihood and to invest in their children’s schooling • Female contribution to household income – empowers women – giving them more influence and preferences over expenditures.
  13. 13. From Local to International Requirements in the Shea Trade • Over the past decade there has been an increasing demand for shea in the international marketplace – For use in cocoa butter equivalents (CBEs), in chocolates produced in Europe, • Typical 100g bar of milk-chocolate contains 5% non-cocoa fats • 20% of these fats are shea stearin (1% of bar) – For use in cosmetics
  14. 14. Shea as a Commodity • Shea is an attractive commodity for the international markets in Europe, U.S. and Japan
  15. 15. Shea as a Commodity • Shea is an attractive commodity for the international markets in Europe, U.S. and Japan • African women could have the opportunity to participate in the commercialization of shea in the international marketplace and obtain higher prices for their product and labor
  16. 16. Shea as a Commodity • Shea is an attractive commodity for the international markets in Europe, U.S. and Japan • African women could have the opportunity to participate in the commercialization of shea in the international marketplace and obtain higher prices for their product and labor • Need to understand the demands of international marketplace – But it is still a challenge due to some bottlenecks in the beginning of the value chain.
  17. 17. Women and Shea • In the case of shea, women participate in the market by selling the raw shea nuts or the processed shea butter.
  18. 18. Women and Shea • In the case of shea, women participate in the market by selling the raw shea nuts or the processed shea butter. • Some very poor women need to sell the kernels right after harvesting at low prices in order to buy what is necessary for the agriculture season.
  19. 19. Women and Shea • In the case of shea, women participate in the market by selling the raw shea nuts or the processed shea butter. • Some very poor women need to sell the kernels right after harvesting at low prices in order to buy what is necessary for the agriculture season. • Other women stored the nuts and process at a later time.
  20. 20. Shea Nuts
  21. 21. International Versus Local Shea Markets • Women often understand the needs of the local market for the processing of the shea nuts very well • However, international demands requires – different quality – higher standards – more consistent products – different demands as compared to the local marketplace
  22. 22. Shea Cream for the Local Market
  23. 23. Problems • If and when women do not have access to the information that will allow them to produce a product that is consistent with the needs of the international marketplace – The result is that women cannot compete and have access to a fair price for their skills and labor • Moreover, women who work in rural areas have little or no access to information that could benefit them – As to produce products of greater value early in the value chain – Allow them to work collectively to capture more value in steps further on in the value chain
  24. 24. Knowledge and the Shea Market • However, women need information about best practices for storage if they are not going to process the nuts right away • They also need information about the fair price to sell – the kernels – the processed shea butter in the local markets – internationally to the traders • In any case, women need access to information and educational materials about better practices that can have a positive impact on the first steps of the value chain
  25. 25. International Markets Bring New Demands • In the international marketplace, there are three factors that can reduce the value of shea butter for those that use this material in food and cosmetics: (1) high levels of free fatty acids (FFA) (2) aromatic hydrocarbons in the shea (3) high levels of peroxides
  26. 26. R4D – A New Technique for High Quality Shea • This approach results in (1) low levels of free fatty acids (FFA) (2) no aromatic hydrocarbons (3) low levels of peroxides
  27. 27. How can this innovation be made available to women? – Very new technique – Many women are low literate learners – Many languages – Printing and distribution of posters in many languages will be costly – where will the money come from? – Even this poster was displayed in a village where few women spoke English – Will this be one more technique that will be inaccessible the target audience?
  28. 28. Meeting International Demands: Education as a Starting Point • Educating women in an improved processing technique becomes a logical step in the value chain • Education can potentially result in increased income for those at the beginning of a value chain • Increase the available high quality starting materials for those organizations that exists later in the value chains
  29. 29. How? • How to provide useful information and knowledge to women… who live across 21 different countries, who speak divergent languages, are often low literate learners, many of them live in villages, …in this improved technique?
  30. 30. Identifying the Bottlenecks • The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in the storage of dry kernels or in the process of shea butter – Properly stored shea nuts more desirable in the local and international marketplace • Even if women stored and processed the nuts properly there is still some gaps that requires access to information – the demands of the standard quality international market – not following these standards the price is likely to be lower for women labor and skills
  31. 31. Identifying the Bottlenecks • The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in the storage of dry kernels or in the process of shea butter – Properly stored shea nuts are more desirable in the local and international marketplace • Even if women stored and processed the nuts properly there is still some gaps that requires access to information – the demands of the standard quality international market – not following these standards the price is likely to be lower for women labor and skills
  32. 32. Identifying the Bottlenecks • The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in the storage of dry kernels or in the process of shea butter – Properly stored shea nuts are more desirable in the local and international marketplace • Even if women stored and processed the nuts properly there is still some gaps that requires access to information – the demands of the standard quality international market – not following these standards the price is likely to be lower for women labor and skills
  33. 33. Identifying the Bottlenecks • The first critical bottleneck in the value chain occurs in the storage of dry kernels or in the process of shea butter – Properly stored shea nuts are more desirable in the local and international marketplace • Even if women stored and processed the nuts properly there is still some gaps that requires access to information – the demands of the standard quality in the international market – not following these standards the price is likely to be lower for women labor and skills
  34. 34. Solutions: Use of ICT in Enabling Empowerment of Women in a Value Chain • Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) has developed approaches to try to alleviate this problem of taking R4D innovations into the field in a cost effective manner – in local languages – without the need for literacy – these animations can be deployed on video capable devices by in country groups.
  35. 35. Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) • Diversity of content • Numerous languages • Many different collaborative groups • Materials are easily downloaded • Can be used by many different educational groups • Partnerships with on the ground groups
  36. 36. Dr. Peter Lovett • Expert in Shea in West Africa • Part of the Global Shea Alliance • Consultant for USAID funded West Africa Trade Hub • Approached SAWBO to create a Shea video on this new innovation • He saw the potential value of SAWBO videos in educational steps in the value chain of shea
  37. 37. Video completed in mid-September of 2013 For release in fall of 2013
  38. 38. New Version of Video – Next Steps? Next steps – Place the video into new language variants – Test the impact of women on learning the new process – Do women adopt this new approach?
  39. 39. Other Solutions • One opportunity for women is to organize themselves in cooperatives – to buy and share technology – that could facilitate access to international markets – higher prices for the final product • Associations and cooperatives would allow them to have better access to credit and training • Lastly, women organized in cooperatives will have better access to market information that would link them with international markets
  40. 40. Why? • Potential higher incomes, e.g. – School fees paid – Improved family nutrition – Better housing
  41. 41. Thank you
  • alainvolz1

    Jul. 4, 2018

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