Excerpt taken from:
Rural women process and sell shea butter / Radio Scripts / Farm Radio International.
The shea tree is a West African plant frequently found in villages and surrounding areas. The tree produces shea nuts towards the beginning of the rainy season. If the rainy season is generous, the trees produce many nuts. The tree’s wood burns very easily, and rural populations cut great numbers of shea trees to make charcoal.
Thanks to efforts by the agents of the Forest and Waters Departments and of village associations fighting against desertification, shea trees continue to exist.
Rural women – who are the people most affected by poverty – lead the efforts to process shea nuts into shea butter. When women sell shea butter in the marketplace, the income allows them to support their families. As detailed in the script, these women would greatly benefit if they had machinery such as a mill because it would help them transform the shea nut into a softer paste. Machinery would also help make the processing quicker and less tiring than processing by hand.