Posted by: cgross1 | October 26, 2011

Harvest and Shea Production Season Prep

So my one year in country mark has come and gone, and it’s so odd to think that I only have one year left here! Most of the time it doesn’t seem like it has been anywhere near to that long, though sometimes it does…but not too often.

People here have been harvesting for the last two weeks or so, and the harvest is almost complete! The families in my courtyard have been stockpiling corn, benga (beans), millet (to make flour), and peanuts! Yum yum!

In other news, my association has been hard at work buying shea nuts and shea butter for this coming production season, which will be starting next month. The process is actually very involved, due to the fact that my association is biologically certified by ECOCERT. When they buy shea nuts, they record the names of the women who bring the nuts, how many kilos and sacks of shea nuts they sell to us, the parcel of land from which the shea nuts were collected, the location/village of that parcel, and the quality of the shea nuts. They then use this information to compare parcels of land over several years to find which parcels have larger yields and higher quality shea nuts. They can then use this to know where improvement in the trees is needed. It is actually very sophisticated for Burkina business.

We also have many new buildings thanks to a Spanish NGO that built us new dormatories with running water and real toilets so that we can host other associations when we do shea formations for them. We are also in the process of building a second center much nearer to my house in village, a smaller production site. This is in order to create more jobs for village women and increase the possible production yield of my association. They are really moving and shaking!

I have been busy making contacts and tracking down potential clients for my association. So far much of the the interest in our product seems to be from the European market, but I am hoping in this coming year to get into the American market as well. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, all is well here, and I hope that all is going well in the US. Only two months until 2012 is upon us!

I hope everyone stays healthy and safe!

Until next time,

Christie

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