Household food security, economic empowerment, and the social capital of women’s shea butter production in Mali

Naughton, C.C. and Deubel, T.F. and Mihelcic, J.R. (2017) Household food security, economic empowerment, and the social capital of women’s shea butter production in Mali. Food Security, 9 (4). pp. 773-784.

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Shea butter, an edible oil and lotion produced primarily by women in over twenty-one countries in sub-Saharan Africa and consumed locally and exported internationally, can contribute considerably to achievement of several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This study investigated the importance of shea butter to women and their families for food security, household economy, women’s empowerment, and social capital. It highlights the vital social value of shea butter in cooperative labor for production, gifting customs among women, and traditional and religious ceremonies. In addition, this study identifies critical opportunities for and obstacles to further market expansion. Based on a mixed methods approach employed in Mali from 2009 to 2014, this study included participant observation, interviews, surveys, and focus group discussions as well as shea tree mapping and weighing of shea and firewood. Major challenges that exist for shea market expansion and food security potential include climate change and globalization of other competing world edible oils. Nevertheless, there are promising opportunities for the shea market with the extensive shea tree distribution, growth of consumer support for environmentally and socially conscious products, and capacity building efforts of rural shea nut collectors and butter producers by the Global Shea Alliance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, Sustainable Development Goals, Food, Climate change, Gender, Poverty alleviation
Author Affiliation: Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, ENB 118, Tampa, FL 33620-5350, USA
Subjects: Social Sciences
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr T L Gautham
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2018 04:36
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2018 04:36

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