BDL & The Savannah Fruits Company

Burn Design Lab is excited to announce our formal partnership with the Savannah Fruits Company (SFC), a global provider of hand-crafted natural products. Our improved shea roasters have been placed in their shea processing centers and will be part of a monitoring and evaluation period in partnership with SFC and Nitidae. SFC's mission is to empower rural African women through community processing of the highest quality natural products while practicing a socially and environmentally responsible business.

SFC has purchased and installed seven new BDL roasters in four of their shea butter processing centers around Tamale, Ghana. Throughout June, BDL's team in Ghana led the installation of the new roasters in the processing centers and spent time training the women in using and maintaining the new technology with assistance from SFC's field officers. This partnership will allow BDL to continue to collect data throughout the year on the efficiency of the roaster design and gather feedback from the women cooperatives using them in their shea butter production process.

The roasters have already proven a 70% reduction in smoke exposure, so we are confident that it is already improving the quality of life in the workplace for SFC's shea butter processors. These roasters are particularly exciting because they significantly reduce firewood usage, as they are designed to use the natural shea cake created through the shea butter process as a fuel alternative to firewood. The roasters also exponentially reduce the amount of smoke produced in the hour-long roasting process and allow the women to comfortably sit while roasting rather than squatting near an open flame as the traditional method currently requires.

Our pilot roasters' monitoring and evaluation period starts today, July 20, 2022, by Nitidae and SFC. BDL's team in Ghana met with staff in Tamale to support and train them on the baseline data collection of roasters and the shea butter collection process. We are excited to understand better and communicate the impact our roaster will have on the lives of hand-crafted shea butter-producing women in Ghana and West Africa. Our pilot phase, including the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, would not have been possible without partners like the Savannah Fruits Company.

Learn more about the roasters in this video and what the women producers have to say about them here.

Learn more about the project: 
Jeremy Su
Lead Engineer, Improved Shea Roaster Project
Jeremy.su@burndesignlab.org