Shea butter

In the Dioïla Cercle, located about 170 km from Bamako, plateaus tower over the vast plains, crossed by ochre lines of the earth. Shea-trees are scattered in the region and women, who organize themselves as cooperative most of the time, use to harvest nuts out of these trees to produce shea butter.

One of the villages that form the region hosted StovePlus  Africa’s team from January 19th to 23rd.Previously, we disseminated an improved cookstove there to measure the efficiency and fuel saved. Indeed, the shea production process needs several and long cooking times and this pilot study focuses on introducing Improved Cookstove (ICS) within the Shea butter producers’ cooperatives.

At the end of the project, we seek to bring more efficient and cleaner cooking solutions.

The mission aims to strengthen data already collected in December, 2014 using the Adapted Controlled Cooking Test.

Focus on the Controlled Cooking Test (CCT)

The CCT is designed to compare the performance of an improved stove with the common or traditional stoves that the improved model is meant to replace. Stoves are compared as they perform a standard cooking task that is close to the actual cooking that local people do every day. However, the tests are designed in a way that minimizes the influence of other factors and allows the test conditions to be reproduced.

Thanks to Faïda and Si Yiriwa cooperatives, our team was able to compare Shea butter production on several cooking devices and techniques:

Churning (traditional preparation of the Shea) + Traditional cookstove (3-stone fire);

Churning + Rocket cookstove (ICS introduced by StovePlus  and currently assessed through the pilot);

Press using 50t jack (introduced production method) + Traditional cookstove (3-stone fire);

Press using 50t jack + Rocket cookstove.

During this field visit, we learned a lot about different methods of processing shea butter in relation to different cooperatives. We were able to collect complementary data which is being analyzed and will be included in the upcoming report.

To be continued…