Drying shea nuts


Shea butter comes from the north of the Ivory Coast and is one of the daily used food fats in this region. The north of the Ivory Coast has a much drier climate than the south, being close to the Sahel. Every year the Harmattan, a dry wind from the desert, blows intensely over the shea gathering areas.
Shea "Karité" means "life" in the Mandinka language, which illustrates the importance of this butter in african culture. Shea butter has been used by African women for thousands of years. This butter is valued for its miraculous properties, as it has an exceptionally high content of unsaponifiable components compared to ordinary plant butters.


Sheanuss farmer

Farmer from the Ivory Coast

Our partner from the Ivory Coast

For over 40 years, our partner has been working with more than 2000 women who are organized in cooperatives and for whom shea butter is an important source of income. They are organized in solidarity and pass on their know-how to their daughters.
He also works together with cooperatives in northern Côte d'Ivoire to promote the development of the sector. This dynamization has four components: Improving working conditions, personal living conditions, the quality of the kernels and the sustainability of the species. To implement all these community projects, our partner works closely with the Global Shea Alliance (AGK or GSA), a non-governmental organization dedicated to the development of the shea industry worldwide, of which our partner is a member.
Warehouses for the shea kernels are being built and renovated so that the women can collect and optimally store larger quantities of nuts. At the same time, projects are also being carried out to build fencing to enclose the areas for drying the kernels. This allows the women to go about their work during the day without having to watch for animals eating the kernels.
In order for the women to safely process the shea kernels, there are plans to build nurseries, so the women can work at their convenience. Since literacy is the basis of all development, a classroom has been set up and equipped with a library so that the population can study at the end of the day.
The women are given advice on how to process the fruit correctly, as well as how to manage their storehouses. The women gatherers are also trained in health and safety techniques to avoid snake bites, scorpion stings, and burns from fire and boiling water.

Shea tree from Ivory Coast

Shea trees from the Ivory Coast

Sustainable cultivation

The shea tree is a species of tree that grows exclusively in Africa in forested savannah areas, stretching from West Africa to East Africa. This growing area is often referred to as the "shea belt." These trees, considered sacred and sometimes hundreds of years old (up to 300 years), begin to bear fruit between 15 and 30 years of age. For this reason, there are no shea tree plantations; they are collected wild.
Last year, our partner invested in a project to plant selected fast-growing shea trees in Côte d'Ivoire to ensure the sustainable development of this natural resource and reduce its depletion. The goal of this GSA-led project is to plant 10 million trees in 8 African countries over the next 10 years, including 250,000 trees per year in Côte d'Ivoire.

The process to optimize and improve the shea industry is ongoing.

Cooking shea nuts

Farmer cooking shea nuts

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