The karité tree grows wild over large tracts of West Africa. It is undemanding, needs little water and protects the land from erosion. For centuries local women have been using the oil-rich kernels to produce oil and butter for cooking and skin care. They also sell products made from the karité nut on local markets. Recently global cosmetic manufacturers, too, have begun processing shea butter, because of its beneficial properties. This could be an opportunity for the women of West Africa to obtain a better price for their products. But to do so they need to improve both the quality of their butter and their marketing.
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