Shea Butter Community Commerce project

With over 1600 beneficiaries in one year, the project has increased the production of quality butter by 35%, and incomes have increased by about 45%.



With over 1600 beneficiaries in one year, the project has increased the production of quality butter by 35%, incomes have increased by about 45%" - Eric Banye, Project Manager.

The project was recently renewed for the 2018 - 2019, growing and harvest season.

Since April 2014, SNV in partnership with Savannah Fruits Company and with funding from Sundial Brands has been implementing the Sundial Brands Community Commerce Project in northern Ghana. As a result of the successful implementation of the phase I during the 2014/2015 shea season, the project was extended to phase II for the 2015/2016 shea season to include more cooperatives in the Upper West Region and to deepen the impact on the existing cooperatives under phase I. The project was granted a third phase (2016/2017) and was recently renewed for a fourth phase (2018/2019).

The name Sundial has become a household name and many more women are eager to join a current beneficiary cooperatives and many cooperatives are also asking to be included in the Sundial beneficiaries.

The number of direct beneficiaries amounts to over 1,800 women. Cumulatively, about 3,768 tons made up of 3,240 tons of conventional and 528 tons of organic butter have been produced and sold to Sundial as the main buyer and other itinerant buyers. A gross revenue of $6,782,400 for both conventional and organic butter was received by the women from the sales of the butter.

There has been great improvement in cash revenue over the period. At the individual women level, cash revenue has increased from $148 per women to $590 per women currently representing over 300% increase. One unique feature of the Sundial sustainable trade relationship with the women is the payment of $0.20 for every kilo of butter supplied by the women as premium. The women have used these premiums to upgrade their livelihood and developed their processing centres. Sundial is about the only company paying such premiums.

So far, the major impact of the project can be summaries as follows;

  • Averagely, in every 85kg of nuts used, about 28kg of shea butter is extracted. Now the women can extract 35% from the same 85kg bag of nuts.

  • Butter productivity was as low as 125kg with average income of GHS700 (US$184) per annum per women. Currently, a women produces 580kg earning about $1,360

  • 45kg of fuelwood was used in producing 85kg of sheanuts. This means for every ton of butter produced, about 540kg of firewood was used in processing 1ton of butter. Now, the women use just about 18kg due to the introduction of the improved cook stoves.

  • It took an average of 22 hours to process a 85 kg bag of nuts into butter. Now through the project, the women spend about 8 hrs to produce the same quantity and quality.

  • With an average of 5 children per beneficiary women, only 37% of them were enrolled in school. Currently, we have recorded 97% enrolment rate in schools.

  • Only 48% of members were registered under the National Health Insurance Scheme. Currently, 99% of the beneficiaries have enrolled their families into the health scheme through the Sundial premium.

There are multiple visible benefits of the project not only to the cooperatives but also the communities and the women’s households. Cash income is increasing, the cooperatives are becoming more active. Dormant members are now playing an active role in the cooperative activities. The provision of the equipment has reduced the drudgery in the butter production process. It has also reduced production cost and time and ultimately maximised profits and freed women’s time for other domestic responsibilities.

Under this partnership, SNV is continuing to deepen the cooperatives’ management capacity, introduce innovative time-saving processing techniques, increase health and safety measures, ensure shea resource sustainability and improve community access to potable water as well as other alternative income livelihood activities.

The Sundial Community Commence Project has gained so much recognition among women involve in shea activities and has significantly contributed to sustainable poverty reduction and women empowerment in Northern Ghana.

shea butter

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“I sent all my children to school, registered my family with National Health Insurance and bought my husband a smock for the Damba festival.“

Samata Abdulai; member of Pagsung Shea Cooperative