Shea Butter Program (Austraining International)

Azumah Resources is an officially recognised Australian Partner Organisation with the Australian Volunteer Program. We support the Australian Volunteer (AYAD) with their work on the Northern Ghana Shea Butter Project. Our support takes the form of providing some assistance with in-country travel, donation of a laptop computer to the project for the Concern Universal field officer to use, and technical advice on community development issues.

Description of the Host Organisation:

Concern Universal is an international development organisation tackling poverty from the grassroots. CU creates opportunities for people around the world to improve their lives and shape their own futures by building skills and connecting people at all levels in society, whilst also helping communities deliver practical solutions with long term impacts. CU currently operates in ten countries around the world, five of these are in West Africa including Ghana. CU has been working in Ghana since 1999, and work there focuses on livelihoods and food security, micro-finance and policy advocacy. CU’s livelihoods work has a focus on social, economic and political empowerment mostly of women.

Assignment Summary:

The broad objective of CU’s livelihoods and food security program is to enhance access to productive assets and reduce vulnerabilities. Currently CU have limited capacity and skills to carry out comprehensive market research and also effectively collaborate with private sector operators.

The AYAD is required to assist the team in implementing the livelihoods and food security program with a specific focus on Shea social enterprise and the development of market access and post-harvest services for smallholder farmers.

The AYAD’s assignment focuses on developing a business plan for the Shea social enterprise project, including reviewing management practices of the program and making recommendations for improvement.

In addition, the AYAD carries out research on the local and international Shea butter market to help the team identify potential buyers.

The AYAD also carries our similar research on the local and international maize market to enable the team to identify and negotiate with institutional buyers for maize produced by smallholder farmers participating in the project.

Finally, the AYAD assists the team in developing a private sector engagement strategy, which will outline a plan of action for engaging and negotiating with private sector partners.

Assignment Outcomes to build Host Organisation Capacity:

  • Build business management capacity of the Shea social enterprise
  • Improve market research and linkages for the Shea social enterprise and D-MAPS project
  • Increase private sector engagement on projects

Concern Universal through Northern Ghana Shea are trying to allow economic empowerment of women though adding value of processing the nuts into unrefined Shea Butter. Concern Universal (CU) is doing this by setting up a processing center in Gabilie with another processing center being built in Moyiri in the Nadowli district. Northern Ghana Shea (NGS) will allow the women access to market conditions that they would not be able to access on their own. Over time NGS will work towards enabling the community to take ownership of the centers and establish a strong business going forward.

Initially 360 women are affiliated with the processing centres in various roles; processors, sellers of Shea nuts and/or butter. We will also be purchasing Shea nuts off women in other communities around the processing centres, with a further 500 women to benefit. However we expect that the whole community will benefit from a fair price of the Shea nuts. In 2010, a USAID West Africa Trade Hub study showed that for every US$1,000 in sales of Shea nuts, US$1,580 in new household income was generated in the local economy. Here’s how that happens: a women’s cooperative sells Shea nuts to a trader. The women use the money they earn to buy other goods and services in their community. That money then becomes income for those local businesses. Those businesses then pay their employees, buy new supplies, pay for other services, etc. – and the money from the sale of the Shea nuts or butter continues to ripple through the economy. This multiplier effect demonstrates how increasing sales of Shea nuts and butter improves the livelihoods of millions of people – directly and indirectly. In the past 10 years, exports of Shea nuts have increased from about $10 million to $120 million.