West African shea exports are currently slower, but they broke their record highs last season. The use of this vegetable fat is increasing, especially in Europe.
West Africa exported no less than 500,000 tonnes of shea between August 2019 and July 2020, the campaign’s start and end dates. This has just been revealed by the statistics collected by investigators from the N’kalo network. The 2017-2018 record is broken. In five years, shipments of this African vegetable fat have almost doubled, with the main goal being Europe. It absorbs 80% of West Africa’s exports.
Growing food use in Europe
Shea has become a substitute for cocoa butter or palm oil in chocolate confectionery and a flavor enhancer in a whole lot of agricultural products. This is not the case in the United States, which already has soybean oil-based fats, and where the use of shea is strictly reduced to cosmetics. The other two major buyers of West African shea are Malaysia and India.
Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin on the export podium
Ghana has become the leading African exporter of shea. And superior. With half of the tonnages, the English-speaking West African country has doubled its sales of shea abroad compared to last year. Number two: Burkina Faso accounts for 25% of the region’s shee exports. Number three: Benin. Its exports via Cotonou are ahead of the Ivory Coast this year.
Deceleration due to coronavirus
The Covid-19 epidemic has nevertheless stopped this international trade in shea. Foreign demand has slowed down a lot, it must be said that stocks have filled up well in Europe. If the price of shea does not collapse in the international market, it is because it is in line with that for cocoa butter, which has been appreciated very recently after a large purchase of cocoa on the new stock exchange. York. But the shea, which is still on African soil at the end of the year, is now sold mainly to local people, mainly to protect the skin from the harmful effects of Harmattan, which is blowing again in the region.