The Shea Project 2008-2012.pdf

NUSPA in Lexus Magazine.pdf


Product Development Progra

Technology Development Component

Under the Technology Development Component, improved technologies for shea-butter extraction have been developed reduce female labor by 80% and fuelwood inputs by over 50%.

In 1999, a prototype Ugandan grinding machine was completed by the SAIMMCO workshop of Soroti, based on a Ghanaian-made plate grinder designed specifically for shea processing. Since 1995, COVOL has been working in technical partnership with the Intermediate Technology Transfer Unit of the Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrialisation Service (ITTU/GRATIS).

The Technology Development Component is supported by the European Commission and by USAID.


At present the sole exporters of shea products from the nilotica variety are the womens groups organized under the Northern Uganda Shea Processors Association (NUSPA). Through the Shea Project for Local Conservation and Development (The Shea Project), NUSPA member groups produce and market locally made 'cold-pressed' shea-butter of the highest quality at a price more than twice that of traditionally produced shea-butter. NUSPA group photos


NUSPA forms chapters at a county level throughout the Shea Project area. Each member group designates three representatives to the NUSPA Executive Board, including at least two women in recognition of female 'ownership' of shea processing (and its returns). Economic benefits of production and marketing through the Shea Project allow the women of NUSPA to invest wisely for their own future and that of their families.


NUSPA unites the women of northern Uganda. At some meetings of NUSPA, three or more different languages are spoken, and people enjoy sharing experiences and advice across regional ethnic and geographic boundaries.

At present, NUSPA chapters are active in Otuke County (Lira District), Agago County (Kitgum District), and Katakwi District (see map). Feel free to contact any of the NUSPA chapters through this website, or at P.O. Box 833, Lira, Uganda.


Marketing Development Component

Conservation of African woodland is based on short-term economic incentives, which can lead a man to cut a shea tree for charcoal, while a single year's harvest of sheanut would actually bring more value.

Shea-butter produced by the NUSPA member groups is an exceptionally high-quality product with unique physical, chemical and therapeutic properties. Given the high value of the oil, prices paid to NUSPA producer groups is currently over three times the local market price of traditionally-produced shea-butter, which is produced and sold by some of the most economically vulnerable women in Uganda, often the elderly guardians of children in school.

The Shea Project is predicated on developing broad and diverse new markets for Ugandan shea products within East Africa, and internationally.

Under the pilot phase of the Shea Project (1995-97), COVOL developed a client base for initial exports of Ugandan shea-butter products. Body Time, a natural cosmetics company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a regular buyer, having recently dropped their original supplier of (West African origin) shea-butter.



COVOL is currently developing cosmetic prototypes based on formulations suited to the unique properties of the nilotic shea-butter.

Export sales (both wholesale and retail) will continue alongside development of domestic markets within Uganda, where COVOL has assembled a line of food-oil production for urban markets.

Technical improvement of post-extraction processing of shea-butter will be addressed in 2000.

The Marketing Development Component is supported by the McKnight Foundation and by USAID.