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LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Objectives of the study
1.4.1 Specific Objectives
1.6 Limitations of the Study
1.7 Organization of the Study
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 History of Shea Trees
2.2 Description of the Shea Industry
2.3 Investing into Shea Butter processing
2.4 Shea butter Extraction
2.5 Utilization of Shea butter
2.6 Types of Shea Butter Processing Technologies
2.6.1 Manual Traditional System of Production
2.6.2 Semi-Mechanized System of Production
2.6.3 Fully Mechanized System of Production
2.7 Quality Standards in Shea Butter Industry
2.8 Uses of Shea butter
2.8.1 Traditional use of Shea in Africa
2.8.2 Uses of Shea butter in the international market
2.9 Shea Butter Marketing
2.9.1 Traditional Market for Shea Butter
2.9.2 International Market for Shea Butter
2.10 Financing of Shea Butter Production and Marketing
2.11 Sources of Finance
2.11.1 SEKAF Ghana Limited Model
2.11.2 Savannah Fruits Company Model
2.12 Potentials of Ghana’s Shea Butter Industry
2.13 Contribution of Shea Butter Industry to Development in Ghana
2.14 Financial income from Shea nut as a means of poverty reduction
2.15 Government of Ghana’s Involvement in the Shea Industry
2.16 The Involvement of NGO’s in the Shea Butter Industry in Ghana
2.17 Factors Militating against Shea Industry
2.18 Shea Butter Processing Constraints
CHAPTER THREE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Study Area
3.2 Data Collection Methods
3.2.2 Sampling and Sampling Procedure
3.2.3 Sources of Data
3.2.4 Methods of Data Analysis
3.2.4 Analytical Frameworks
CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
4.2 Socio Economic Characteristics
4.2.1 Age of respondents
4.2.2 Number of years in production
4.3 Consistency in quality production
4.4: Ensuring Consistency in production
4.5 Market destination of Shea butter
4.6.1 Ensuring Traceability
4.7 Changes in Technology
4.8 Shea butter Extraction among respondents
4.9 Estimation of cost of production
4.9.1 BENEFIT COST ANALYSIS
4.9.2 Net income of Shea butter extractors per year
4.9.3 Net income/Month
4.10 Defining significant variables that influence quality butter
4.10.1 Quality Shea butter
4.10.2 Specifications on Quality Requirements
4.10.3 Improved Technology
4.10.4 Processing techniques
4.10.5 Analysis of Factors that influence Marketable Quality Butter
4.11 Analyzing and Ranking Major Constraints Shea Butter Processors Face
4.11.1 Rank agreement testing among respondents
4.11.2 Computation of ranks
CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
I, Ndejipo Ampem Isaac dedicate this work to my mum and entire family for their love, support and words of encouragement and push for tenacity ring in my ears. I also dedicate this to all my love ones especially Mr. Simon Osei Tawiah, Chris Annan Miss Bertha, Mrs Pergeri and Miss Angela Montoma.
I, Fadamulla Peter dedicate this work to my daughter Mavis Adomaa and my friends for their duly support especially Gabriel Mills-Robertson, Eric Brako Dompreh, Kenneth Kissi and Emmanuel Ofosu Agyei. Notwithstanding to Mr. Antwi Ayim and Mr. Abu Daizy for their financial support and advice.
Our utmost gratitude to God for the wisdom and perseverance that he bestowed on us during this research project, it is through His guidance and care that has sustained us for our four years of study.
We would also like to express our great appreciation to Mr. Sylvester Nsobire Ayambila for his invaluable and constructive guidance and suggestions which ensured perfection and completion of this work piece.
Our heart-felt thanks to all the lecturers in the faculty for their encouragement and advice throughout our stay in school.
It is difficult to imagine how we would have survived and graduate school without all the help of our family and friends. Their care packages, phone calls, and encouragement kept us going during the tough times, and we extend our thanks to each and every one of them. These thanks go to Miss Angela, Tawiah Cobbina, Bamfo Edmund, Dovi selasi.
This study aimed at analyzing the benefits, cost and constraints of production of quality Shea butter in relation to production methods amongst processors in Tamale Metropolis. Specifically, it was to assess cost-benefits of production of quality butter. Secondly, to determine the factors that influences marketable quality butter. Lastly, to analyze the constraints to the production of quality marketable Shea butter. The study was conducted in 4 communities in Tamale Metropolis because these are the communities with abundant shea butter processors. A total of 80 respondents were interviewed with 20 respondents being selected from each of the communities using snowball sampling. The average costs, average revenues and profits were calculated on yearly basis. The study revealed that averagely individual processes 3 bags (90kg each) of Shea nuts in a week and this yield 3 units of shea butter which weighs 25kg each. This yields an average of 75kgs of Shea butter selling at an average price of GHc73. A processor has an average total cost of GHc8609 per year, average total revenue of GHc10512 per year and the profit yielded is GH1622.8 per year. This gave a benefit cost ratio of 1.2:1 which implied that producing quality butter was profitable. Probit model was used analyze the factors influencing the quality of Shea butter. Out of the seven (7) estimated coefficients number of years in processing, improvement in technology and orderly processing procedures significantly explains the likelihood that a respondent produces quality Shea butter. The study also revealed that the major problems encountered by processors were; lack of capital to purchase enough nuts and expand production, unstable markets, high prices of nuts, dangers associated with picking nuts from the bush, shortage of water in lean season. The results of the Kendall’s coefficient of concordance revealed fair level of agreement (40%) among respondents. On recommendation, Shea board should be rejuvenated to function effectively.
Table 2.1: Ghana’s Shea Butter Outputs (2000 - 2011)
Table 3.1: Description of variables in Probit model
Table 3.1.1: Explanation of measurement of variables
Table 4.1: Ensuring Consistency in production
Table 4.2: Average Total Cost of production per year
Table 4.3: Average Revenue per year
Table 4.4: Quality characteristics and grades of unrefined shea butter
Table 4.5: Probit model for analyzing factors influencing the production of quality Shea butter
Table 4.6: Rank agreement testing among respondents
Table 4.7: Computation of sum of ranks
Fig 4.1 Percentage Age Distribution
Fig 4.2: Age Distribution of Working Years
Fig 4.3 Consistency in quality production
Fig 4.4: Market destination of Shea butter
Fig 4.5: Traceability
Fig 4.6: Ensuring Traceability
Fig 4.7: Changes in Technology
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Shea trees are a feature of the semi-arid regions of West Africa, found in the savannah belt which stretches from Senegal to Chad and encompasses all of northern Ghana. In Ghana Shea is dominant tree species of the savannah parklands and are in high numbers on farmlands. Shea butter is a fatty extract from the seed of the shea tree. The Shea tree, formerly butryospermum paradoxum, now called vitellaria paradoxum, grows naturally in the wild in the dry Savannah belt of West Africa, from Senegal in the West to Sudan in the East, and onto the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands. The shea tree thrives in 19 countries across the African continent, namely Benin, Ghana, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, Guinea-Bissau, Uganda, Equitorial Guinea and Gambia (Addaquay, 2004).
Shea ripe fruits fall from the tree from April through June and are harvested before sunrise by rural women. The fruit pulp is nutritious and a very important source of calories, vitamins and minerals (Shea project 2012). Inside the seed is a kernel which is dried and stored for subsequent processing into butter. Windfall fruits are collected, processed and traded almost exclusively by women in Ghana (Chalfin, 2004a).
The kernels of the Shea fruits are high in oils and have long been collected and processed by women in Savannah communities, where they provide a useful source in diet (Elias & Carney, 2006). After drying, the kernels may be stored for later use or immediately processed by a laborious manual process into Shea butter which is used in daily meals, either as an ingredient or as a frying medium, and also sold in local, regional and global markets (Lovejoy, 1985; Fold and Reenberg, 1999; Becker, 2001; Buttoud, 2001; Nacoulma, 2002; Chalfin, 2003; Chalfin, 2004a; Hatskevich et al., 2011). In order for West African producers to export high-quality shea butter, methods of collection, processing and storage of nuts must improve. Increasing the value added by processing shea kernels into butter would be the likely necessary incentive to encourage women to control more rigorously for quality.
According to Yidana (2004), the population of shea trees growing naturally in Ghana has been estimated to be about 9.4 million with a potential yield of 100,000 tons of dried shea nut per year. The shea tree population covers the whole of Northern Ghana, an area estimated to be over 77,670km2, and about two thirds of the total land area of the country (Adomako & Frimpong, 1985; cited in Yidana, 2004).
There is sparse shea tree cover found in Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Volta regions in the Southern of the country (CRIG, 2002, Fobil, 2010). The shea tree is found only in the semi-arid lands of the Guinea Savanna woodland belt of Africa (Abbiw, 1990). It is usually found in a semicultivated state in ‘parklands’ or ‘bush-fallow’ alongside the locust-bean tree, Parkia biglobosa, in an integrated Agro-forestry system with other food crops( Kessler 1992).
TechnoServe Ghana (2004) affirms that, Ghana has the potential to produce 90% of the world’s shea nuts. This means there is enough raw materials in the wild for shea butter processors and marketers. Though shea butter processing is an indigenous traditional industry that could highly support sustainable development of Northern Ghana, financing is one of the biggest constraints affecting entrepreneurs involved in the processing and marketing of shea butter, as Holtzman (2004) stressed, “finance could be a major constraint to expanding shea butter exports from West Africa”. Holtzman (2004) again stated that “the shea butter processing industry is the least developed in the producing countries”.
The local Shea market exists because most women are engaged in the processing of Shea butter which constitutes a key source of income for local women (Perakis, 2009). The processors sell directly to the consumer in the local market. Very little is well packaged, labeled or certified before sale and it is sold in small balls or bowls in major markets throughout the country (Kent and Bakaweri, 2010).
Shea nuts and butter have been traded in West Africa for centuries (Chalfin, 2004). However there is an increase in demand for Shea both as a cocoa butter substitute and a ‘natural’ cosmetic product have led to a rapid increase in demand and calls for an improvement upon the quality (Lovett, 2004). The quality of Shea butter is highly dependent upon the methods of grading nuts, drying, storage and processing. Increasingly due to corporate responsibility, certain companies like Savannah Fruits Company, Sekaf Ghana Limited although relatively small, have been working to attain quality commercial production while supporting rural women’s groups.
Focusing on production of quality Shea butter would mean improving upon the methods of production to substantial tonnages to meet the quality requirements. There is an opportunity to supply a competitively priced Shea product to the expanding Shea market and also meeting quality standards. Consumers these days have become conscious of their health and therefore the need for quality Shea butter. In as much as rural women spend so much of their time and resources to meet the quality requirements by large organizations; it has become imperative to find out whether it is worth it investing capital and resources to produce quality butter. This Study therefore seeks to assess the economic benefits, costs and constraints of producing quality marketable Shea butter. In view of the high demand for quality Shea nuts and butter, it will also be appropriate to find out how various activities and factors will influence Shea butter produced to meet the standards and quality in delivery of Shea butter to consumers.
This study sought to find answers to the following questions:
1. Is it economically viable to produce quality butter?
2. What are the factors that influence the quality of butter produced?
3. What are the constraints facing the production of quality Shea butter.
The main objective of the study is to assess the benefits, costs and constraints of production of quality Shea butter in relation to production methods amongst processors in Tamale Metropolis.
1. To assess the benefits-cost of production of quality butter.
2. To determine the factors that influence quality butter.
3. To identify the constraints to the production of quality Shea butter.
In recent times it has been argued that the demand for quality Shea butter is on the higher side Lovett (2004) but as to whether it is economically viable to spend much time and resources in producing high quality marketable Shea butter is another case since women are at the advantage of engaging in Shea butter extraction as a way of gaining incomes. The study also is founded on the believe that developing the shea industry in Ghana has the potential to accelerating economic growth and poverty reduction in Northern Ghana, particularly in rural communities because it employs about 3,000 households in northern Ghana producing 4 Million USD worth of Shea butter annually (TechnoServe Ghana, 2004).
Existing studies on the shea industry have tended to concentrate on the immediate gains of the sector for both local and international traders without considering the sustainability of such gains or the economic well-being of those who make shea products available. The outcome of this study will provide detailed information on the benefits, costs and constraints in the extraction of shea butter.
First, volunteering information is a key to the success of any research activity. However, the clandestine nature of activities of some of the processors posed a huge information gap to this study coupled with language barrier to the local dialect. We therefore relied on a native to translate whatever information we needed from our respondents.
Second, the lack of culture of record-keeping of shea proceeds and also expenditure of processors in the industry was also a challenge to the completion of this study. The study had to rely on detailed narrations on the costs and benefits of the shea industry, from mainly a few processors that have been in the industry for long with few records.
We were also limited to capital constraints and this limited us to 80 respondents in the Metropolis. In addition, since the study was focused on four communities as study area, the findings of this research cannot be generalized for Shea nut processing communities. Nevertheless, this research could be used as a guide to understand other communities with similar characteristics for any Shea nut intervention programme.
This study is organized into five chapters. An introduction to the study is provided in chapter one which includes the following sections: Background to the study, problem statement, research questions, general objectives, specific objectives and justification.
Chapter two provides the results of literature review which is centered on: History of shea trees, description of the Shea industry, investing in shea processing, extraction methods, utilization of Shea butter, Shea butter production systems, types of Shea butter production system, quality standards, uses of Shea butter, marketing of Shea butter, Financing, contribution of the shea industry to development in Ghana, governments involvement in shea industry, NGOs involvement in the shea industry, factor militating against the shea industry, shea butter processing constraints.
Chapter three is made up of research methodology which consists of: Study area, data collection methods, sampling procedure, source and type of data, methods of data analysis and analytical frameworks.
Chapter four comprises of: Data analysis and discussions of results.
Chapter five talks about: Conclusion and Recommendation.
The Shea tree, formerly Butryospermum paradoxum, is now called Vitellaria paradoxum. Many vernacular names are used for Vitellaria, which is a reflection of its extensive range of occurrence -nearly 5000 km from Senegal (West) to Uganda (East) across the African continent. The nomenclature history and synonymy of the Shea tree followed a very tortuous evolution since the oldest specimen was first collected by Mungo Park on May 26, 1797 before eventually arriving at the name Vitellaria with subspecies paradoxa and nilotica (Park, 2004). The Shea tree grows naturally in the wild in the dry savannah belt of West Africa from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east and onto the foot hills of the Ethiopian highlands. It occurs in 19 countries across the African continent. These include: Benin, Ghana, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’ Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, Zaire and Guinea. (FAO, 1988). According to Yidana (2004), the population of Shea trees growing naturally in Ghana has been estimated to be about 9.4 million with a potential yield of 100,000 tons of dried Shea nut per year.
The harvesting, processing and marketing of Shea nut kernels and butter has provided local communities throughout the Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa with food ingredients, skin- care products and household incomes, for at least 200 years (Buttoud, 2001; Wardell et al., 2002b; Chalfin, 2004a; Elias and Carney, 2007). In Ghana, Shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa) grow in abundance in the wild in almost half of the country occurring almost in the entire area of northern Ghana, with land coverage of over 77 670 km2 in Western Dagomba, Southern Mamprusi, Western Gonja, Lawra, Tumu, Wa and Nanumba with Eastern Gonja having the densest stands. It is also reported that in Ghana, it occurs extensively in the Guinea Savannah and less abundantly in the Sudan Savannah (FAO, 1988a cited in Fobil, 2007). There is sparse shea tree cover found in Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, and the Eastern and Volta regions in the south of the country (Fobil, 2007).
The Shea tree population covers the whole of Northern Ghana, an area estimated to be over 77,670km2, and about two thirds of the total land area of the country (Adomako, 1985; cited in Yidana, 2004). There is sparse Shea tree cover found in Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Volta regions in the south of the country. The Shea tree is found only in the semi-arid lands of the Guinea Savanna Woodland belt of Africa (Abbiw, 1990). It is usually found in a semi-cultivated state in ‘parklands’ or ‘bush-fallow’ alongside the locust-bean tree, Parkia biglobosa, in an integrated Agro-forestry system with other food crops e.g. maize, sorghum, yam, etc. (Kessler, 1992; cited in Lovett & Haq., 2000). The term ‘semi-cultivated’ is used because though the trees occur naturally, some selection will probably have taken place when the land was first cleared for cultivation as the best trees are found on farmed land near settlements (Irvine, 1961; cited in Lovett & Haq., 2000). The young trees are also in need of protection from fire (Irvine, 1961 and May dell, 1986; cited in Lovett and Haq., 2000) taken 12-15 years before first fruiting, with full maturity only being reached after about 30-40 years old (Dalziel, 1937 & Fleury, 1981). Usually the mature trees start flowering by early November and yielding fruits from April to August every year for over a period of five months. Shea fruits, when ripe, fall under their own weight and are picked up by the local inhabitants. It is estimated that about 9.4 million Shea trees grow in Ghana, and these can potentially yield averagely about 100,000tons of Shea nuts per year (Dogbevi, 2009).
The Shea tree is unique to Africa. “The Shea is a golden tree; what cocoa can do the Shea can also do but cocoa cannot do what the Shea does, but little attention is given to the Shea” (CRIG, 2008). The Shea industry comprises the picking of Shea fruits and nuts; the processing of nuts into butter and the sale of both nuts and butter domestically and for export. Shea picking and processing on small-scale for household use as well as for sale is dominated by women and children. Darkwa (2000) modelled the export demand and supply of Shea nuts in Ghana from 1970 to 1998. Darkwa observed that the export demand for Shea nuts increases with growth in income of importing countries. Further, he found the effect of real exchange rate on the export supply of Shea nuts to be substantial in both the short run and the long run with the long run effect being greater.
Initial investment for Shea nut production is minimal since Shea tree is an indigenous species and it occurs in large numbers in the whole of Northern Ghana. It is only labour- and time intensive as the trees are scattered. The uniqueness of Shea is that it generates income specifically for women as it is traditionally seen as women’s business (Elias and Carney., 2007 cited in Carette et al., 2009). Most women either work individually near their homes or are organized into small business cooperatives (Mensah, 2001). Moreover, Shea fruit is one of the few natural resources accessible for the landless poor. As reported by Carette et al. (2009), there is significant demand for Shea products both within Ghana as well as on the international market, which is important for the income generating potential of Shea.
One common characteristic of rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is that they derive their living mostly on farming. Rural households of SSA are mainly engaged in smallholder farm and contribute about 26 % of GDP as well as providing employment to almost 65 % of the labour force (World Bank Report, 2007). In World Bank report of 2008, agriculture is mentioned to be a strong option for poverty alleviation, ensuring food security and economic growth.
An estimated number of about 600,000 women of the Ghanaian northern decent live on the income they acquire through processing and marketing of Shea related products. This means that the Shea industry is an alternative livelihood for majority of the deprived (in terms of education and finance capabilities) women in the three northern regions of Ghana (SNV, 2006).
The fresh fruits collected should be processed within 2 to 3 days to avoid germination. The steps involved in the processing of fresh fruits to obtain the dry kernels (usually called Shea nut) are as follows: de-pulping, par-boiling, sun-drying and cracking of the nuts. Shea butter is extracted from the dry Shea nut primarily by individuals on a small scale using a traditional method that varies slightly in detail and has been described by Irvine’s study (cited by Yidana, 2004). The method generally consists of the following steps: crushing of the nuts, roasting the pieces in a hot pan, milling the pieces, kneading the milled mass in water to extract the crude fat and boiling the crude extract to obtain purified Shea butter. The dry Shea nut are crushed by placing one or two nuts at a time on a hard surface such as flat stone or concrete floor and hitting them once or twice with a specially prepared wooden pestle. 100kg of Shea nut can be crushed in this way by adult person per man-day. Roasting the pieces after crushing is effected by placing them on clay pots (specially prepared Swiss ovens) and heating until the kernels shine with oil, turn brown and begin to split. Well dried nuts require heating for 40-60 minutes with regular stirring to prevent broken kernels from charring. Irvine’s study (cited by Yidana, 2004) shows that the kernels may be roasted before crushing. The roasted pieces are milled by machine. The milled mass is added to cold or hot water in calabashes or pots and kneaded until it is too thick to work. More water is added and the kneading continues until a grey -coloured spongy dough or a curd-like crude fat is obtained. This is then added a little at a time to large pots filled with cold water and the dough thoroughly worked with the fingers until the fat rises to the surface of the water. This crude butter is removed and washed. It is refined by boiling in pots of hot water for about 2 hours while stirring only the top part of the boiling mixture. The melted fat floats on the surface and is gradually removed into calabashes or other containers. The bottom mixture contains impurities and therefore is not added to the good quality fat removed from the surface. This liquid fat removed is stirred in calabashes until it solidifies.
The colour of the fat obtained is an indication of quality and efficiency of the method of preparation. A good quality fat is cream-coloured or pale yellow in colour and is preferred by users. Machines have now been made to speed up the major steps involved and to make the process less laborious. The Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Services (GRATIS) in collaboration with the ITTU at Tamale (Ghana) has developed and is marketing these machines. They comprise of a crusher, a miller and a kneader with a boiling drum attached. The machines have a capacity of extracting butter from 3000kg of Shea nut per day. However, only about 30% of the fat content of nuts is extracted. This is the same value as in traditional extraction methods (Dalziel, 1937) but the faster extraction by these methods is of significant advantage. Hydraulic presses developed such as the Bridge press are capable of extracting up to 90% of the fat contained in the nuts (Adomako & Frimpong, 1985). Use of hydraulic press has increased the efficiency and quantity of the Shea butter from the available Shea nut.
The seed kernel (often incorrectly called ‘nut’) contains a vegetable fat known as Shea butter. High quality Shea butter is consumed throughout West Africa as cooking fat. Refined fat has been marketed as margarine and baking fat. It is used for pastries and confectionery because it makes the dough pliable. Many cosmetic products, especially moisturizers, lotions and lipsticks, have Shea butter as a base because its high unsaponifiable matter content imparts excellent moisturizing characteristics. The Shea butter has been used as a moisturizer to treat dry cracked skin, as massage oil for colds and sore muscles, and host of minor skin problems. It is also used my midwives on new-born babies to moisturize their skin and also as a protection against diaper rash (Lovett & Haq., 2000).
Shea butter is given externally and internally to horses to treat sores and galls. The black sticky residue, left after oil extraction, is used to fill cracks in walls and as a waterproofing material (Bonkoungou, 1987). Internationally, Shea butter has become important because of its therapeutic properties for the skin. It can act as a mild ultra-violet barrier, protecting skin from the sun. It has regenerative and anti-wrinkle properties (hence the name ‘the fountain of youth’) and it is used in bath, beauty and body care products such as soaps, creams and lotion. It also has a wide application for the pharmaceutical industry, such as suppositories.
The growth rate of use of Shea butter in just the US market has been estimated at over 25 per cent per annum and continues to grow (Lovett & Haq., 2000). Estimate for consumption have been given as high as 150g a day for a Mali family of seven (Fleury, 1981), though this may vary according to availability. The oil has also been found to be effective in protecting cowpea and groundnut from infestation by the beetle Callosobruchus maculats, at doses as low as 0.5 mg/kg (Fleury, 1981). The commercial uses of Shea butter include being used as cocoa butter substitute and in margarines or other fat spreads (Fleury, 1981). The biggest growing market in Shea butter use is in the formulation of base creams both in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry (Fleury, 1981 & Abbiw, 1990; cited in Lovett & Haq., 2000). Addaquay (2004) reports that crude Shea butter, processed in the region, is sold as food oil and also as skin cream.
In West Africa including Ghana, Shea butter extraction process is categorized into three main methods: traditional, semi-mechanized and fully mechanized industrial systems (Addaquay, 2004). These methods are discussed below.
Addaquay 2004 stated that rural-based women using manual traditional methods extract about 60% of all the crude butter produced in West Africa at an extraction rate of about 20 percent, Addaquay 2004, further stressed that the traditional method predominates. This could be due to lack of funds to procure appropriate simple tools to facilitate and expand the production of Shea butter. Hall et al (1996) estimated that the production of 1kg of Shea butter takes one person 20-30 hours, from collection to final product. It is also estimated that 8.5-10.0kg of fuel-wood is needed to produce 1kg of Shea butter. Extraction rates are also low at about 25 - 60% (Hall et al., 1996). Shea butter begins from pounding of dry Shea kernels through to cooling the oil to obtain crude butter. Aculey (2007) stated that the traditional processing of Shea butter at times results in poor quality and unhygienic products, resulting in low prices.
Attempts have been made to introduce new technologies into the gathering, storage and processing of Shea butter (Wallace-Bruce, 1995). The semi-mechanized system of extraction utilizes appropriate technology to mechanize some of the unit operations of the manual traditional system. A nut crusher, roaster, a kneader or a hydraulic/screw press oftentimes complements the manual process and reduces drudgery of the traditional system. According to Addaquay (2004), such technological advancement has led to an improvement in extraction rate from 20 percent to 35 - 40 percent. This system is referred to as the semi-mechanized system. The semi-mechanized system could be very suitable for a developing country like Ghana. As a result further research ought to be conducted to promote extensive use of the semi-mechanized system in Ghana. Lovett (2005) stated that, wide varieties of the Shea tree- vitellaria paradoxa have been identified through research. In view of Lovett, species variability may provide an opportunity for the selection of varieties with lower gum contents which would allow dry fractionation techniques that are cheaper and more suitable for tropical regions like Ghana than those that use inorganic solvents.
In view of Addaquay (2004) mechanized processing in West Africa yields 30-40% of Shea butter from raw nuts, but more efficient, fully mechanized systems achieve extraction rates of between 42% and 50% This is relatively higher, compared with 25%-60% of extraction rates of the traditional and semi-mechanized systems. Most of the West African plants produce less than 25% of their installed capacity and operates only six months in a year in order to offset the high cost of storing Shea nuts throughout the year. Studies into crude Shea butter storage possibilities cold reduce the high cost of storing Shea nuts in Ghana. In Ghana there are five Shea butter processing plants producing at industrial level with a combined capacity of 100,000 tons. The total utilization capacity of all the five plants is 19 percent, with the highest being 50 percent by Juaben Oil Mills Compared with the potential of the country to produce about 200,000 tons of Shea butter per annum, the quantity indicated above is very low (Addaquay, 2004).
The growing recognition for traceability and the demand for consistent quality and quantity are due to three major issues from the perspective of Lovett (2004). Firstly, there is a wide range of genetic inconsistencies that makes Shea kernels and butter to contain broad range of fatty acid and unsaponifiable profiles, e.g. very similar processing methods could produce butter with different melting points if kernel from different sources were used. Secondly, there is lack of quality control during the processing of Shea kernel and butter especially in rural settings. Recent research supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and commissioned by TechnoServe-Ghana, has shown that the first three steps in the post-harvest processing (accumulation of fresh Shea nuts, heating the fresh nuts and drying the kernel) are the critical determinants of kernel quality owing to the demand for low free fatty acid, peroxide value and fungal levels of Shea butter. In view of Lovett (2004) subsequent steps during extraction, can only preserve the quality, which if low, will certainly demand the need for refining before use in the Western market. Thirdly, butter producers fail to maintain high quality by not adopting best practices for extraction, storage and packaging.
The current market prefers kernel quality of less than 6% Free Fatty Acid (FFA), kernel fat content of 45-55%, less than 7% water content and less than 1% impurities. The preferred demand for butter quality for the cosmetic industry, however, varies depending on end use. Discussions have revealed some preferences, like non-solvent extraction, natural source (organic certification if possible), low FFA, clean white to yellow colour (not grey), filtered to remove impurities, low water content, low odour, low melting point, and high unsaponifiable fraction (the portion with therapeutic properties, 3-12% of total extract).
As a result of international market demands for Shea butter ‘ quality and quantity ’, attempts are being made by the West Africa Trade Hub (WATH) to ensure production and export of quality Shea products (Holtzman, 2004). Besides, The African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) also encourages Shea producing countries to establish standards for the production of Shea (Agbanelo, 2006). Efforts are therefore being made in member countries including Ghana to set local standards for Shea kernel and Shea butter producers.
Two standards - GS238 and GS824 - have been drafted and are being discussed to be used to regulate the production of Shea butter and Shea nut respectively. GS238 is Specification for Shea Butter (Unrefined) whilst GS824 is Specifications for Shea nuts (Prudence, 2006).These standards specify the content, packaging, hygiene, colour, odour, taste and texture of the products among others. The standards also indicate quality characteristics, classifications, uses and contaminants.
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