On the Shea Road
It is one of the most popular ingredients in our cosmetics and even chocolate makers. But then, do you really know shea butter?
Shea is found exclusively in West Africa. The main producing countries are: Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Mali, and Togo. In the producing regions of these countries, shea constitutes an important source of income in rural areas.
How is shea butter made?
The Shea tree grows wild and harvesting the fruit is done in the form of picking 🌳.
Shea collectors 👩🏾🌾, are encouraged to leave some of the fruit on the ground so that it can germinate and become small shrubs.
The naturally fallen ripe fruits are collected from June to September. The women pick the fruits from the feet of the trees selectively according to their degree of ripeness and condition and remove the nuts from the pulp. This produces nuts that are washed and cooked.
The nuts are boiled to inactivate the lipases of the microorganisms. Then the almonds are sun-dried.
They are then crushed, roasted, ground until a thick paste is obtained, which when mixed with water will be vigorously churned. Immersion in boiling water will separate the butter from the other components of the almond, especially the impurities that settle at the bottom of the container.
Once removed, the butter floating on the surface is kneaded before being cooked for a long time to allow the water to evaporate and the impurities to settle. The resulting oil (actually liquid butter) will be filtered before being packaged 🥣.
Our shea butter
MissBak Shea Butter comes from Côte d'Ivoire and it is on the latter's route that we take you on a trip, more precisely in the Bagoué region in the north of Côte d'Ivoire.
It is a region that is not foreign to me, because it is the land of my paternal grandmother and therefore my forefathers. As much as to say that the same sensation regains me each time I return there, this sensation of belonging, of attachment.
We stayed with family but really everyone is your family here. Côte d'Ivoire is known everywhere for its ancestral and legendary hospitality.
The objective of this trip was above all formative, indeed MissBak aspires for its producers and its products an opening to the international and fair market. We therefore initiated last year a series of training sessions in order to educate and train the producers and the cooperative as a whole.
All the participants were very receptive, motivated and the practices transmitted have already been implemented.
This is also an opportunity to recall the importance of this activity for an entire community as a whole, its balance and the impact on future generations. The training cycle ended with a festive celebration as we know how to do in Senoufo country 💃🏾.
Cosmetics is now the main outlet for the shea butter produced by women. However, the production is demanding and requires support for women to implement it. Most of the clientele of the women's groups or networks is turned to exports to Europe and North America.
It is in this context that we have initiated an crowdfunding campaign in order to finance the training and fair trade certification of our female producers and our brand. For each contribution, a jar of shea butter will be given to you 🥰. You can contribute here >>>