How to Grow Shea Trees (Karité, Nku, Bambuk Butter tree)

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Shea Nut Tree (Karité, Nku, Bambuk Butter tree)

Short Description

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Introduction

The shea tree, also commonly known as karité (Wolof and French), Nku or Bambuk butter tree, grows wild in the equatorial belt of central Africa between Gambia and Sudan where oil palms do not grow because of insufficient precipitation.

The oil extracted has a relatively high melting point and is used in rural areas in the making of foods, soap manufacture, traditional drugs and cosmetics. Shea is mainly exported as smoked kernels and can be used as an extender in chocolate as its properties are similar to cocoa butter.

The production of shea butter is an important source of income for many women but heavy fluctuations in availability of raw materials limits profitability and restricted it as a farmed crop.

Cultivation

A shea-tree (Butyrospermum Parkii) needs between 8 and 15 years until the first harvest but some time longer to reach full capacity. A tree can yield of 15 to 20 kg of fresh fruit that will produce 3 to 4 kg of dry kernels. The kernels are made up of 42 to 48% oil.

Pests and diseases

Damage to foliage is caused by the larvae of Cirina butryrospermi and Anacridium moestum. Muissida nigriveriella and Ceratitis silvestrii larvae may develop inside the pulp of the mature fruit thus causing damage. The tress may suffer from leaf spot.

Harvesting

Women and children collect the fallen fruit and take them back to their villages for processing into shea butter, an edible fat. Harvest is at the beginning of the rainy season. Harvest prospects are subject to considerable fluctuations.

References and further reading

This Howtopedia entry was derived from the Practical Action Technical Brief Shea Nut Processing.
To look at the original document follow this link: http://www.practicalaction.org/?id=technical_briefs

Soapmaking, Practical Action Technical Brief

Oil Extraction, Practical Action Technical Brief

Shea Butter Extraction in Mali, Appropriate Technology Bulletin No 6, Appropriate Technology International, 1985

Oil Extraction, Food Cycle Source Book 1, UNIFEM and IT Publications, 1987

Appropriate technology for shea-butter production: A women’s technology in Mali GTZ/GATE

Appropriate Technology Products of Ghana, DAPIT Project Secretariat, Ministry of Environmental, Science & Technology, 1995, ISBN 9988-7615-0-3

Minor Oil Crops, Intermediate Technology Consultants, 1991

References and further reading

This Howtopedia entry was derived from the Practical Action Technical Brief Shea Nut Processing.
To look at the original document follow this link: http://www.practicalaction.org/?id=technical_briefs

Soapmaking, Practical Action Technical Brief

Oil Extraction, Practical Action Technical Brief

Shea Butter Extraction in Mali, Appropriate Technology Bulletin No 6, Appropriate Technology International, 1985

Oil Extraction, Food Cycle Source Book 1, UNIFEM and IT Publications, 1987

Appropriate technology for shea-butter production: A women’s technology in Mali GTZ/GATE

Appropriate Technology Products of Ghana, DAPIT Project Secretariat, Ministry of Environmental, Science & Technology, 1995, ISBN 9988-7615-0-3

Minor Oil Crops, Intermediate Technology Consultants, 1991


Useful contacts

Practical Action The Schumacher Centre for Technology & Development, Bourton on Dunsmore, RUGBY, CV23 9QZ, United Kingdom.
Tel.: +44 (0) 1926 634400, Fax: +44 (0) 1926 634401 e-mail:practicalaction@practicalaction.org.uk web:www.practicalaction.org

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Raise
Website:http://www.raise.org/natural/shea/shea.stm

GRATIS (Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Service)
P.O. Box 151, Tema, Ghana
Tel: 010 233 221 4243, Fax: 010 233 221 6251

COVOL (The Cooperative Office for Voluntary Organizations)
4680 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz CA 95062, USA
Tel: 831 462.2182
Web site: http://www.covol.org/shea.html
COVOL have a shea project working primarily with women's farming groups across northern Uganda

International Centre for Underutilised Crops
Institute of Irrigation and Development Studies
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)2380 594229
Fax: +44 (0)2380 677519
E-mail:
Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk/~icuc/

Post Harvest Programme
NR International
PO Box 258
Chatham Maritime
Kent ME4 4PU, UK

CEPAZE (Centre d'Exchages et Promotion des Artisans en Zons a Equiper)
18 rue de Varenne
75007 Paris
France
CEPACE began developing equipment for shea butter production in 1980

DFID Crop Post-harvest Programme, Improved processing of Shea nuts in northern Ghana (R6631). A bridge type screw press was developed for the extraction of shea butter, local construction of the press was carried out by the Intermediate Technology Transfer Unit in Tamale

KIT - Royal Tropical Institute (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen)
Postbus 95001
1090 HA Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)20 568 8711
Fax: +31 (0)20 6684 579
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Web site: http://www.kit.nl/

Equipment suppliers

Note: This is a selective list of suppliers and does not imply endorsement by howtopedia.

Farmers' Technical Service and Technological Training Centre
P. O. Box 9899, Accra, Ghana
Manufacture batch toasters, a vertical Hand Press and motorised oil expellers.

S.I.S Engineering Ltd.
P.O. Box 45
U.S.T Kumasi
Ghana
Produced a churning and washing machine and a manual screw press.

UNATA (Union for Appropriate Technology Assistance)
G. Van den Heuvelstraat 131, 3140 Ramsel, Belgium
Spindle press oil expeller

IITU (Intermediate Technology Transfer Unit) -
GRATIS
P.O. Box 951, Northern Region, Tamale, Ghana
Produce a shea nut grinder/mill
10 hp electric & 8hp diesel

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