The Shea Project 2008-2012.pdf

NUSPA in Lexus Magazine.pdf

Nilotica Shea-Butter

Nilotica Shea Butter
And the Shea Project

The producers of Nilotica shea butter are women farmers belonging to farming groups and cooperatives of northern Uganda and Southern Sudan, brought together through the Shea Project for Local Conservation and Development (the Shea Project), a highly innovative new industry which reduces female labor, lifts women's incomes, and directly benefits household food security.

As in most of Central Africa, the women of northern Uganda and Southern Sudan are responsible for all aspects of the household, from digging the fields to raising children and feeding the family. Here, shea butter is a traditional food oil of great importance, particularly during the 'hungry season' and times of famine; surplus shea butter is sold at local markets.

Shea-nut has always been gathered and processed by women, who use income from shea products to pay school fees and taxes, and to buy essentials such as salt, soap, clothing and medicines. Despite the nutritional and economic importance of shea butter, traditional methods of extraction require very hard work, and take a lot of women's time; they also require large amounts of fuelwood, which can exacerbate problems of deforestation.

Unfortunately, the wood of the shea tree is also prized by the men who burn charcoal, and in some places the tree is cut for this short-term (and very destructive) gain. Since the shea-butter tree grows very slowly- taking as long as 20 years before fruiting - the species is very slow to regenerate, and in some areas short-term planning may result in permanent destruction of the savanna woodland ecosystem over large areas.

In peripheral and extremely low-income areas like northern Uganda and Southern Sudan, only economic incentives at the local level will preserve threatened savanna woodland for future generations.

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A long-term effort of COVOL, a US-based non-profit grassroots development organization, the Shea Project involves the introduction of simple, village-level technologies for shea butter extraction which reduce female labor and lessen environmental impacts of processing on local woodland. Participating women farmers also benefit from a revolving loan program.

By addressing the processing and marketing needs of traditional producers, the Shea Project maximizes women's opportunities for income generation, directly reinforcing household food security and promoting the conservation of indigenous woodland resources for future generations.

All proceeds from the sale of Nilotica shea products sustain the Shea Project, directly reinforcing a local economy based on conservation of threatened savanna woodland.

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