Producer Profiles

OLD NAME: UGPPK - Union of Shea Butter Producers

Landlocked Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. About 90 percent of its population survives by working in agriculture, growing primarily sorghum, millet, maize and rice, and raising livestock. To help address the issue of rising poverty, The Women Producer’s Union of Shea Butter Products (UGPPK) in the Sissili and Ziro provinces of Burkina Faso, brings together an estimated 1,492 women members from 38 different villages. UGPPK is the first women-producer organization of Shea butter to become Fair Trade Certified™. The General Assembly at UGPPK prioritizes members’ education and productive improvements when allocating Fair Trade premiums.


Productive Improvements

The UGPPK has implemented an efficient semi-industrial production process for churning shear nut butter based on traditional artisanal methods. Members bring their Shea butter from various locations to the centralized Production and Commercialization Center, where Shea butter is homogenized, filtered and stabilized.

Health and Literacy

The UGPPK fights illiteracy and HIV/AIDS. Since the cooperative’s formation, more than 200 women have been taught basic literacy and distributed school supplies to an estimated 80 HIV orphans. Over 500 women producers have been educated about the risks associated with HIV/AIDS.

Maternity and Emergency Fund

The UGPPK uses Fair Trade premiums for a maternity fund to cover medical expenses and finance members’ maternity leave. A portion of Fair Trade premiums has also been allocated to an emergency fund to be used in case of natural disasters. Should production be affected, the emergency fund –which consists both of a supply of Shea butter products and cash –can be used for emergency financing.

Training Program

A goal of the UGPPK is to improve women’s living conditions and those of their families by using the Fair Trade premium earned from selling shea butter internationally. Since its creation, the Union has trained nearly 1,800 women in methods of work that improve both the efficiency and sanitary conditions of shea butter production.