The organic shea project
The project is supporting a group of women shea producers in the north of Côte d'Ivoire, more precisely in the peripheral area of the Comoé National Park, on the outskirts of the Biodiversity Zone (ZDB) of the Mount Tingui. The project will benefit around 400 women in the area, among them members of the nascent Nakakoumina cooperative (translation: "to support" in Dioula). Ultimately, the objective of the project is to structure a high added value shea supply chain for these producers through the enhancement of the natural resources present in the forest area of the ZDB. The actions and diagnoses carried out upstream made it possible to identify:
- A strong potential for shea production, particularly in protected forest areas;
- Numerous shea collectors and producers invested in the promotion of this product, but weakly structured and faced with the lack of an accessible remunerative outlet;
- A growing demand from private shea industry sector for a sourcing of shea in Côte d'Ivoire, and more specifically in connection with the management of natural areas.
Training session on practical rules for organic production
Launch of the Nakakoumina cooperative
These actions resulted in the launch of the structuring of a cooperative of women shea producers and the construction of a partnership with Savannah Fruits Company for the sale of the shea products, Organic Agriculture certified, made by the cooperative. The nascent cooperative, however, needs significant support to set up efficient collective operations, to develop its production tools and to meet the quantity and quality requirements of this new and first buyer. Indeed, if the potential for sourcing shea is very important in the area, the project is taking place in a territory that has no structured cooperatives or even successful experiences in the shea sector. For this, it should be noted that the project therefore starts the structuring of a sector and a shea cooperative from scratch. Indeed, the women, discouraged by the lack of commercial outlets for their products from the collection of shea, were gradually abandoning the collection and processing. This project therefore represents, on the one hand, a profitable opportunity for these women and on the other hand, obtaining a new organic shea market for the buyer.
Family photo under the shea tree with some women members of the cooperative
Construction of a village center for processing nuts and storing shea kernels
The construction of the fresh nut processing center will be funded by the Savannah Fruits Company. More specifically, this will involve the construction of improved stoves, effluent settling tanks and drying areas, the drilling of a borehole for access to water, a fence to secure the site, and the acquisition of equipment for the steam treatment of shea nuts - all sized and co-financed in synergy with the Agrovalor RCI project. In addition, a warehouse with a capacity of 40 tonnes, equipped with a solar system, a hangar intended to house improved stoves and storage equipment (scales and pallets) will be financed by the partner Clarins. It should be noted that for the first year of the project, the targeted results will go up to 20 tonnes of volume of shea kernels sold.
* Intervention territory on the outskirts of the Mont Tingui Biodiversity Zone (geoportal capture: http://geoportail-papbio-comoe.com/)*
The training provided by the project
It should be noted that the same woman will be able to benefit from different training courses described below, depending on her role in the cooperative, her capacities and her level of commitment to this stage of the cooperative's life. The training will be numerous and substantial given the embryonic state of the cooperative and in order to meet the ambition of the project to structure an organic shea sector, which requires a degree even higher of structuring, transparency, internal management and quality.
- Training and support for strengthening the cooperative (cooperative life and simplified management), led by our collaborators of the Agrovalor RCI project
- Training and support for collectors for the aggregation of quality shea kernels (improved production practices for shea kernels, inventory management, traceability management, Internal Control System)
- Training in business development and support for the marketing of shea products (knowledge of the market and customer requirements)