Shea (Butyrospermum parkii) can only be found in its natural state in Africa, in the Sudan and Sahel (North of the Equator). This wild tree can grow as high as 20 meters. Its growth is slow; it bears fruit around age 20, and reaches its maximum production capacity after 50 years. Each tree produces an average of 15 to 20 kg of fruit (i.e. 3 to 4 kg of kernels) per year.

Women's gold

Shea plays a very important social and economic role in rural areas. The harvest and processing of Shea fruit is done by women. From May to August, they pick up the fruit once it has fallen onto the ground, and bring them home. They follow several steps to obtain the precious Shea kernels. They remove the sweet and edible pulp of the fruit, in order to obtain the nut, which is then boiled, dried in the sun and shelled. The kernel obtained is sun-dried again before being sold or processed into butter.

“Women’s gold” is thus an additional source of income for millions of women in rural Burkina Faso, and it gives them some economic independence.


  • OLVEA - Shea butter production - Shea harvest


    20 kg of Shea fruit

  • OLVEA - Shea butter production - Pulp removing and scalding


    10 kg of Shea nuts

  • OLVEA - Shea butter production - Sun drying


    6 kg of dry Shea nuts

  • OLVEA - Shea butter production - Shelling


    4 kg of Shea kernels

  • OLVEA - Shea butter production - First pression


    1,5 kg of raw
    Shea butter

The full traceability of the production is guaranteed, from the Shea nut harvested to the butter produced.


Fair-trade Shea

Since its creation, OLVEA Burkina Faso has developed fair-trade production chains with communities of more than 20 000 Shea producers. These transparent and long-term relations rely on Collaboration Protocols, which frame a sustainable commercialization:

  • Transparent and higher-than-the-market prices,

  • Training and awareness among the producers about the agricultural good practices,

  • Valorization of the natural resources and reforestation.

fair trade-certified farmers' organizations according to Ecocert's Fair for Life standard
women producers
trained women
added value left in Burkina Faso

Sustainable projects

Since 2016, OLVEA and L’Oréal, in partnership with Nafa Naana and Entrepreneurs du Monde, have been supplying improved cookstoves to Shea producers in south Burkina Faso in order to fight against fuel poverty and its consequences on deforestation. These improved cookstoves, used to boil Shea nuts and cook meals in Burkina Faso’s rural households, consume less firewood than traditional cookstoves. These cookstoves generate savings and improve their health, comfort and environmental impact (less wood consumed and less CO2 emissions).

In 3 years, more than 4,200 producers have benefited from this project! A total of 5,370 improved cookstoves were distributed, thus avoiding cutting more than 4,500 tons of wood and reducing the domestic work of these producers by 500,000 hours.

Production in Burkina Faso

OLVEA Burkina Faso

OLVEA Burkina Faso, certified For Life by Ecocert, is based in Bobo Dioulasso, in the heart of the Shea country.

OLVEA has been producing Shea butter in Burkina Faso since 2008, and now offers a complete range of Shea butters (conventional, organic, fair-trade and organic and fair-trade) as well as Shea oleins (conventional or fair-trade), which are refined in France, in its eco-refinery. Certified by Ecocert, OLVEA supplies organic Shea butter compliant with European Organic Regulation 889/2008 and the NOP standards, and Fair-trade Shea butter according to the Fair for Life standards of Ecocert.

OLVEA - Shea butter producer in Burkina Faso - For Life - Ecocert - Organic -USDA - Fair For Life


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With its many benefits, Shea butter has been used by local populations for thousands of years in cooking and traditional medicine. Thanks to its exceptionally rich unsaponifiable matter (kariten, terpene alcohol and tocopherols), it is used in the formulation of a wide range of beauty products: skin and lip care, sun care and hair care.

Discover our production units

OLVEA has its own supply chain in Burkina Faso and an eco-refinery in France.

Discover our Shea butter

OLVEA Burkina Faso produces a wide range of shea butters, conventional or sustainable and fair-trade.