Title: Regional network for innovations in shea improvement and valorization
Shea resources over vast areas in West Africa directly result from the work of many generations of farmers toward diversified, risk-averse and sustainable farming systems. This tree resource, which has merely been selected and amplified through cultivation and fallow cycles from the original vegetation in most cases is not planted. Despite several decades of relatively fragmented research studies, the species remains barely semi-domesticated and has not been the focus of systematic genetic improvement programs. Whereas shea’s world market demand is rising, shea tree populations are threatened by agricultural intensification, competition from other land uses or inappropriate management practices. Therefore accelerating and improving the production potential of this priority species in order to encourage higher management intensity and widespread tree regeneration and plantation appears necessary to sustain its economic contribution for millions of women shea producers.
The general objective of the KARITE-PLUS Project is to contribute to the integrated development of innovative research and local capacity enhancement tools for improving and intensifying the management of shea in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Specific objectives are to develop basic research resources (ex-situ germplasm collections, phenotyping and vegetative propagation methodologies) and partnership capacity with local shea sector actors to utilize local knowledge and intraspecific diversity.
- Phenotypic diversity characterization of shea
- Participatory annual phenotypic monitoring of selected shea trees
- Identification and propagation of sets of accessions for INRAB and INERA ex situ collections
- Establishment and evaluation of ex situ collections at Ina, Benin and Farako-Bâ, Burkina Faso
- Inventory and priority setting of selection traits.
- Sensitization program on local shea diversity and selection through field agents and local radio
- Establishment of scion production orchards by women groups
- Dialogue between industrial actors (Fludor, Natura, Olvéa) and producer groups on quality criteria and industry requirements
- Extension fact sheets on local diversity of phenotypic characteristics and improvement potential through selection; grafting and air-layering propagation; establishment and management of scion propagation orchards.
- Training of technicians and village youth on shea phenotyping methodologies
- Training of trainers of producers on establishment and management of scion production orchards
- Two MSc students and ingénieur theses on above research topics
- Regional networking of researchers in Benin and Burkina Faso for development of data collection, trial management, co-publications, student support.