Traditional production of shea butter by the women associations in West African villages

Burkina-Faso Noumoundara village ''Sabari Kagni'' women association example

The women association ''Sabari Kagni'', which means '' The forgiveness is Good'' in Jula (Dioula) language, assembles 75 women from the Noumoundara village located 26km south of Bobo-Dioulasso, along the road to Banfora and Ivory Coast..
Twenty five women got a technical formation to produce the highest quality of shea butter. Only these women are allowed to process the shea butter under the direction of their president Mrs Diagala Ouattara

The shea butter processing steps

The nuts are picked up every morning starting June in the bush, 15km around the village, under wild Butyrospermum Parkii trees which receive no fertilizer, pesticides and chemical treatment.

The nuts are sorted and washed in water
The nuts are boiled 30 minutes in water
The nuts are sun-dried during 5 days
The nuts are shelled
The almonds are washed with water
The almonds are sorted and sun-dried
The almonds are roasted in metal pots
The almonds are sorted and washed again with water (15% loss at this step)
The roasted almonds are processed in a grinder to produce a brownish paste
The  brownish paste is mixed, kneaded and pounded with the hands or with traditional wood pestles or an engine powered machine
The paste is washed several times with water and become whitish
The whitish paste is heated slowly to obtain liquid shea butter in large metalcauldrons. The water evaporate and the impurities fall down in the cauldron
The liquid shea butter is decanted by addition of cold water then heated again to remove the humidity
The liquid shea butter is skimmed and filled in an other pot
The liquid shea butter is filtered one time when it is hot and filtered again when it is cold
The shea butter is packed and stored

Except water no one product is used during all the processing of she butter
To produce 1 kg of shea butter the average quantity of shea nuts almonds you need is 2.7kg

Place for work Several members Mrs Diagala Ouattara on left
Shea nuts Shea almonds sun-dried Almonds
Furnace to roasted almonds Shea nuts almonds sorting Shea nuts almonds sorting
Grinding of the almonds Kneading ''Barratage'' Rinsing
Raw shea nutpaste Raw shea nuts paste Cauldron
Shea butter appears on the top
Removing the shea
butter from the c
Skimming the liquid she butter    

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