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Media Coverage

SHEA BUTTER IN THE PRESS 19th January 2007, Times of India.

Articles

Northern Ugandan Peasants Mint Money from Shea Nuts

Posted by niletimes at 12:42 PM on January 02, 2010 By Bonney Odongo

Farmers in northern and eastern Uganda have started making money from shea nuts following the establishment of sh1bn shea processing plant in Lira by Guru Nanak Oil Company.

Selling a kilogram locally at seven hundred shillings, peasants most of whom former internally displaced persons have now turned to gathering shea nuts as a major income earner.

With a maturity period of between 15-20 years, shea trees which produces oil containing shea nuts grows wildly in the grassland savannah of Lango, Acholi, West Nile and Teso regions.

Farmers in northern and eastern Uganda have started making money from shea nuts following the establishment of sh1bn shea processing plant in Lira by Guru Nanak Oil Company.

Selling a kilogram locally at seven hundred shillings, peasants most of whom former internally displaced persons have now turned to gathering shea nuts as a major income earner.

With a maturity period of between 15-20 years, shea trees which produces oil containing shea nuts grows wildly in the grassland savannah of Lango, Acholi, West Nile and Teso regions.

Guru Nanak’s executive director, Singh Surjit reveals that at least 2,000 peasants from Lango, Teso, Acholi and west Nile regions are engaged in shea nuts gathering, which they sells at seven hundred shillings a kilo.

“This year I got sh210.000/= from shea nuts which I gathered and sold to Guru Nanak. I spent the money on reconstruction of my home which was destroyed by the LRA,” says Caroline Obote, a peasant in Amugu sub county, Lira district.

Obote adds that she started shea nuts collection business because of the crop-loss she incurred in two successive years due to dry spell.

Milton Okello of Aloi Sub County, Lira district said he collected about 320 kilograms and the used the proceeds for roofing his house using the iron sheets given to him by the government at the time of IDPs resettlement.

From shea nuts, Guru Nanak Oil Company produces on average 20,000kg of Shea Nut Butter annually for local and international market, according to Singh.

With government intervention to control the cutting down of shea trees for charcoal and to promote shea products internationally, Singh believes the country can export between 300-500 tones of shea butter per year.

The export, he said would earn up to sh1bn in foreign exchange at the current world market price of $10 and 10 Euros per kilogram of shea butter in both US and EU markets.

Sing said: “Guru Nanak Oil mills have also started producing local products from shea butter for our local community to get greater skin benefits from the shea butter like Marks Go, Mo Moohani, After Shave Organic, Organic Hair Care, and mosquito repellents etc.”

He maintains that shea butter Uganda is a food for great significance value in Uganda and intend to produce edible shea butter for domestic and international market too.

Guru Nanak is a certified organic company for collection and processing of organic she butter for Exports and domestic market.

The company has two Organic Standards, NOP-USDA- for American market, and EU Standard for European market. Compared to shea products from West Africa, according to Singh, Shea Butter Uganda has the highest demand in the world market because of its organic nature, quality and composition.

But despite all the positive confessions, shea nut trees in Lango, West Nile and Teso are at risk of extinction because of the increasing demand for charcoal in urban centres.

“We encourage the community to protect these valuable shea nut trees for our country- it is un-tapped natural resources of great significance,” says Singh.

Patrick Ayena, secretary for health and education in Lira district local government said as a natural gift the district has already banned cutting shea trees for charcoal.