Announcing our expanded partnerships with women's shea cooperatives!
Caravanserai imports only the finest quality unrefined shea butter directly from several family farms in the West Afrikan Savannah. By supporting Caravanserai, you are ensuring the creation and support of women's cooperatives and creating sustainable economic practices. The shea tree and its butter are a natural, renewable resource that does not need to be treated with pesticides, harmful chemicals or detergents, or water for irrigation. Our wholistic connection with these farmers ensures they have direct access to the profits and fruits of their labor, and keeps this trade fair and in good standards.
Quality and sustainability are a part of the mission of Caravanserai Body Care. Because our community, both locally and globally, is so important to us, we are continually working on ways to expand our positive impact. It has always been our goal to make superior quality shea products accessible and affordable to all, while consciously sourcing shea butter from fair and equal trade cooperatives.
We are excited to announce our expanded partnership with women owned and operated cooperatives throughout Northern Ghana. Because of the outreach invested by our company, we are able to purchase our largest shipment of Unrefined Traditional Shea Butter yet, and we continue to ensure support for the valuable work done by these women.
The cooperatives from the Gushegu, Karaga, Bimbilla, and Walewale areas throughout northern Ghana empower 10,000 members annually over the shea harvest season. While working within a women’s cooperative, individuals receive shea nut quality information, sourcing training and education in environmental impact. During the shea harvest season, investments are made by the cooperatives into quality processing equipment (tarpaulins, grinding mills, jute sacks, etc.) and protective clothing (boots, raincoats, gloves). These women are then able to invest and support their business activities, even during the lean season, through fair wages and micro financing projects.
The training these women receive by participating in these cooperatives not only enhances the economic and environmental circumstances in Northern Ghana, but also ensures that you can feel good about the source of Caravanserai’s Unrefined Traditional Shea Butter.
Essential in Afrikan agronomics, the fruit of the shea tree has been cultivated for thousands of years across the West Afrikan Savannah. The tree itself is not harvested, as it takes 30 to 50 years to mature and bear fruit. Due to being such a valuable natural resource, the shea tree is protected and destruction of the tree is forbidden. Education through conservation groups has shown that the shea tree is often more significant source of household income than cultivated crops alone. In a traditional West Afrikan farming system, the shea tree is grown among a variety of traditional foods including cowpeas, cassava, pigeon peas, sorghum and cotton. Even in times of drought and famine, the shea tree continues to yield heavily, providing the area with much needed sustenance.
The traditional process to create shea butter takes hours of intense labor. First, the shea fruits are harvested during the rainy season of May to August. The nut is then removed from the pulp and is dried in the sun. The husks are removed to reveal the fat-rich kernel. The kernel is then pounded into kernel meal, roasted and kneaded with water. The fat is then boiled to allow the oil to rise, and is taken off the top. Then shea nut fat solid is formed, scooped up and rinsed with water and then churned. It takes 20 to 30 hours, from harvest to churning, to create 1 kilo of unrefined shea butter.