Start Shea Butter Exportation Business

Shea butter comes from the Shea nut found predominantly in Africa. The economic viability of the product is due to its various applications.
Majority of the produce is used in cosmetics, moisturizers, creams and lotions. Top suppliers of the product are found in West and Central Africa.
Major exporters of Shea butter are Central Republic, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Uganda. Others include republic of Ghana, Togo and Uganda.
In recent times the demand has risen exponentially because of patronage from large cosmetic companies. Shea butter is a vegetable fat extracted from dried kernels.
The off white extract is a fat substance predominantly used in cosmetic. Shea nut is harvested from the karate tree and refined to extract the fat.
The fat contains a complex mix of arachidic acid, linolenic acid and palmitic acid. More acids include fatty acid, stearic acid and oleic acid.
Sea butter export options available to investors include full time, freight forwarding, part time and brokerage deals.
shea butter
Major Exporters of Shea Butter
  • Central Republic
  • Nigeria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Uganda
  • Ghana
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Ivory Coast
  • Mali
Applications of Shea Butter
Shea butter has many economic applications such as skin care lotion, moisturizer and lotions. Other uses include ingredient in lip gloss, emulsions, soap and conditioners.
It is used for cooking, found in medical ointments for dry skin or pain relief. Stearin a derivative of processed Shea is used in the food industry.
Uses of Shea Butter Ingredients
  • Lipsticks
  • Sunscreen formula
  • Make-up
  • Emulsions
  • Lip gloss
  • Hair conditioners
  • Used in cooking
  • Medical ointments
  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Moisturizers
  • Food industry
Shea Butter Extraction and Refining Process
Women using traditional methods usually start the process separating and cracking the dry nut. The nut is then crushed and boiled to extract the Shea butter.
The roasted nuts a stirred to prevent the Shea burning, then ground and water introduced into the mix. The water and kneading is added to separate the butter oil curds which are slowly melted in a separate pot.
It is then left to cool then shaped into balls. The traditional method sometimes causes impurities and contaminants in the product.
Marketing Opportunities
Exporters need to give serious consideration to consumer’s specification. Basic specification includes moisture content, free fatty acid and oil content.
Other specifications are solubility, color, texture and latex. The production method and specification is different for each industry based on the application.
Shea is exported in different forms such as finished, nut, instead, stearin or butter. Exporters must follow strict specifications and guidelines as dictated by the buyer.
There are lots of marketing opportunities in Europe, Denmark, Sweden, France and United Kingdom. Major industries that import the product are pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetic industry.
What drives the market is the huge demand for natural and organic products. International organizations use a portrait of rural women using traditional methods as a marketing tool.
There is also a demand to know the origin of the product and other certification. The industry is highly competitive so you need an effective marketing strategy. You need to follow the buyer’s specifications to avoid rejected cargo.
  • Organic declaration
  • Origin
  • Recommended storage instruction
  • Classification
  • Shelf life
  • Statement of identity
  • Ingredient declaration
  • Net quantity
Permits and Legalities
The label should have origin, classification and production method. You are required to follow legislations, documentation and regulation of buyer country.
Global buyer requirement may involve R&D certification, quality control, stages of production, practices and environmental concerns. Quality requirement include deodorizing, color, fatty acid composition and concentration of unsaponiables.
Labeling requirements include net weight, date of manufacture and best before. Others are name of exporter, contact address, place of origin, batch code and product classification.
Common documentations are safety data sheet, certificate of analysis and technical data sheet. Other documentation covers product information, certificate of origin and CAS number.
Use effective packaging and clean containers to avoid contaminants.
  • Standard certificate
  • Certificate of origin
  • Package list
  • Commercial invoice
  • Entry declaration
  • Bill of lading
  • Examination and inspection
  • Organic declaration
  • Quality assurance
  • Origin
Register your business as a limited liability company. Consult with exporters that have good knowledge of the business.
Buy only quality products and actively seek foreign buyers. You can source funds from agricultural banks or core investors. Stay abreast of production process and secure relevant documentation.

 image attribution-By TREEAID - Burkina's gold, CC BY 2.0,


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