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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African Shea Butter: A Feminized Subsidy from Nature
Authors:Elias, Marlène
Carney, JudithISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Burkina Faso
Subjects:shea nuts
gender division of labour
Women's Issues
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/afr.2007.77.1.37
Abstract:The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) is indigenous to Africa's Sudano-Sahelian region and crucial to savanna ecosystems and peoples. African women have long collected, marketed and transformed shea nuts into a multipurpose butter. The growing global trade in shea butter destined for the Western food and cosmetics industries thus represents an opportunity to bolster impoverished female incomes. However, such international sales are also prompting changes in the West African shea landscape. This article examines the role of shea as a female heritage in Burkina Faso, West Africa's largest shea exporter. It focuses on the knowledge systems informing the management, conservation and processing of shea. It also considers the effects of global shea commercialization on the maintenance of traditional agroforestry practices, tenure rights, and butter-making techniques. In so doing, the article illuminates the cultural and botanical heritage of shea as well as the significance of this species in biodiversity protection, African natural heritages and female knowledge systems. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]