Shea supply chain

Discover our sustainable Shea butter supply chain in Burkina Faso


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 annum.


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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.

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.


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    20 kg of fruit

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    10 kg of nuts

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    6 kg of dry nuts

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    4 kg of Shea kernels

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    1,5 kg of raw Shea butter

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


Sustainable Shea

Since its creation, OLVEA Burkina Faso has developed sustainable supply 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.

producers organizations
women producers
trained women
added value left in Burkina Faso

Sustainable projects

OLVEA also contributes in the implementation of sustainable projects with Shea producers such as providing those women with improved cookstoves for scalding nuts. This tool generates savings and improve their health, comfort and environmental impact (less wood consumed and less CO2 emissions).

Production in Burkina Faso


OLVEA Burkina Faso, approved as a Responsible Company 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, sustainable and fair-trade) as well as Shea stearins. 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 ESR (Fairness, Solidarity and Responsibility) standard of Ecocert.


Discover our Shea butter

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

Discover our production unit in Burkina Faso

OLVEA has its own production unit in Burkina Faso.