Shea butter supply chain – Mali



You can support the “Si Lakana” project by making a donation, and in return you will receive a jar of shea butter or a cream made with shea butter prepared in Italy, with the support of the herbalists collective Officine Naturali (see instructions at bottom of page)

The shea butter made in the Dibaro village is unrefined, as it is still prepared according to a traditional technique (the butter sold in Europe is generally refined, therefore losing most of its qualities). The kernel of the shea fruit is toasted in a wood oven for three days at a low temperature and then crushed in big mortars in order to eliminate the shell. Afterwards kernels are pressed in a mill until a dark paste, smelling of chocolate, is obtained. This paste is worked by hand by the women, in order to separate the “unsaponifiable” component (the richest part in oils and butter) from the “saponifiable” one. The unsaponifiable component is then heated until it melts and turns into oil which, when cooled, turns into butter.

Shea butter is a rich and versatile substance, a precious ingredient for skin and hair care found in most cosmetic products, globally. Its principal characteristic is the unusually high percentage of unsaponifiable substances which is up to 18% in unrefined butter (while in refined butter – white – it drops to less than 10%). The unsaponifiable component is the most active and important part of the butter and oils: the more there is, the more elasticizing and regenerative it is for hair and skin. In fact, the unsaponifiable substances stimulate the production of collagen and elastin and regenerate cellular tissue. Compared with other oils, shea butter is second only to avocado oil (27%), with regard to the unsaponifiable percentage, and the third is borage oil (1,9%), while argan or almond oil reach 1.5 and 0.6%.

These extraordinary characteristics make shea butter a precious substance used in widespread cosmetic products around the world. Given that the shea fruit grows in only a few sub-Saharan African countries, and in particular in Mali, it is quite clear what enormous potential it has for the growth of the local economy. Shea butter is the primary source of income for women in Mali, which is used to help complement household income, in order to buy medicines, schoolbooks and clothes for children.

The fundraising promoted by Terìa organization has two main objectives (see the section named projects)

  • Support the Si Lakana project in Dibaro village in Mali, financing the work of removing the parasite plant from the shea trees.
  • Support the community of women in the production of the butter, through the creation of a certified workshop and the setting up a cooperative that can access the Fair Trade market.


Make your donation on this link support si lakana and choose your gift. You are free to choose the amount and make the payment via PayPal or a bank transfer. If you would like further information about the project and about shea butter properties, please send an email to  If you are not interested in receiving a gift, but just want to make a donation, please follow the directions below:




Bank account

Name: Terià ETS
Iban: IT 88 N 05018 03200 000016953507
Banca Etica