In the last 10 years, the shea industry’s growth across West Africa has been tremendous. The story of Fludor, a shea processor in Benin, exemplifies the sector’s steady and transformational expansion.
The company, established in Cotonou in 1996, produces edible oils and de-oiled cake from cotton seed and soy bean.
In 2009, after exploring the potential of shea processing with USAID Trade Hub studies as guides, Fludor implemented a modest program, processing 600 tons of shea nuts. The effort was a success, inspiring the company to send a representative to the USAID Trade Hub-organized 2010 annual shea conference in Bamako, Mali.
In 2011, the company processed 6,000 tons of shea nuts. Senior management participated in the 2011 annual shea conference in Accra, Ghana. Today, it’s processing 12,000 tons of shea nuts and selling the butter to European buyers. That quantity of shea nuts represents the work of thousands of women.
“We employ 250 permanent staff and 200 casual employees,” explained Roland Riboux of Fludor. “Our target is to reach a turnover of $20 million in shea butter by 2015.”
“This success is symbolic – it’s happening for many companies,” said Dr. Peter Lovett, shea sector advisor at the USAID Trade Hub. “Every shea-producing country has a story like this.”
The company is leveraging its success to pursue new opportunities within the sector. It will work with the Global Shea Alliance to implement a shea quality program and is supporting the new Benin National Shea Alliance (see related story), which was put in place during the country’s first national shea conference, recently held in Cotonou. It will also assist in organizing Shea 2012, the annual industry conference set for April 2012.
“Shea is rapidly expanding,” Riboux said. “Fludor is proud to be a part of the Global Shea Alliance and we are looking forward to helping Benin host an exciting conference in 2012.”