Benefits and constraints of shea butter production by women in Nasarawa state, Nigeria
The study assessed women involvement in shea butter production activities in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The specific objectives included the examination of the socio-economic characteristics of the women involved in shea butter production in Nasarawa, ascertaining the contribution of their involvement to their wellbeing and examining the constraints they face during the production activities. To achieve these objectives data on women shea butter production activities and benefits derived were collected from 97 respondents from the state using questionnaire and interview schedule. The data collected were analysed using descriptive (frequency distribution, mean) and inferential statistics (multiple regressions). The results revealed that the majority of the respondents were married, illiterate, young within the age bracket of 30-39 years and family size of more than 5. All of them belonged to farm associations. The major benefits the respondents believed they derived from their shea butter processing business included better feeding of household (46.9%), more income (100%) and improved child training (93.8%). Two of the several major serious constraints the respondents faced in their production activities were hazards during fruit collection (mean = 2.54), inadequate inputs (2.87). Multiple regression results revealed that age (b=-0.089), household size (b = 0.014), production experience (b = -0.006), income (b = 0.210) and membership of cooperatives (b = 0.045) had a significant influence on the women level of involvement in shea butter production activities. From this study it can be concluded that shea butter production process in Nasarawa State, Nigeria is dominated by women with no formal education and their participation in the process was affected by or related to some socio-economic characteristics of the women. Also shea butter processing and sales is not a very lucrative business as income level is low. Nevertheless, women involvement was relatively high and income generated was of benefit to them.
Key Words: Women, Shea butter production, Benefits